IBM began the week by announcing a new agreement with Avada Software. The Java messaging software vendor will bundle IBM's WebSphere application server Community edition with its Infrared360 software, according to company information.
Network Computing writer Andy Dornan says the deal is significant because it marks the beginning of IBM using OEM agreements in its sales strategy and because it's an indication of the popularity of the open source version of WebSphere.
At first I couldn't figure out why having Avada give away software that IBM already gives away was such a big deal, but the agreement puts IBM products into a new user group -- some of which the company may be able to turn into paying customers. And as Dornan indicates, IBM isn't concerned about losing sales:
The risk to IBM is that WAS-CE will cannibalize sales of its non-free products, but IBM doesn't see it that way, believing that it can add value above and beyond what it gives away for free. It also points out that much of its software can work with both versions of WebSphere.