Early this week, 451 Group analyst Matthew Aslett shared his thoughts on M&A potential in the open source arena this year. If you haven't seen it yet, it's certainly worth a look.
Two things in particular caught my attention. First, though "transformative deals" will continue to be few and far between this year, he noted that "bolt on" acquisitions that enable vendors to sell start-up developed functionality to their customer bases will continue -- especially as economic pressure continues to drive an increase in open source use. Second, Aslett says:
...[O]pen source vendors could be forgiven for thinking that it would be easier to be acquired and have that open source software embedded within a larger proprietary product (as IBM has done with Gluecode and Serena is doing with Projity) than develop the proprietary functionality themselves.
Just as proprietary vendors might be looking to open source to extend their reach into new potential customers, open source vendors might be looking to proprietary technology as a means of converting community interest into revenue.
It's a very good point that I hadn't yet considered.