CEO Corner: Proprietary CMS Vendors: It’s Us Vs. Them

I just finished reading Dave Scalera’s post on the Acquia blog “Open Source lies: Confessions of a former Commercial CMS Salesperson” and it got me thinking about the Open Source vs. Proprietary thing.

I know, here we go again Smile

What I’ve come to realize is that it doesn’t matter what’s better. It matters what people believe is better.

It doesn’t matter if Open Source software has bad security – only that people think it does. Dave’s post goes a long way to dispel that notion by referring to the White House and the army of people assigned to security. Well done!

It doesn’t matter if Proprietary software has better support – only that customers have a better experience. It works for premium consumer brands so why not CMS?

It doesn’t matter which philosophy is superior – Open Source is perceived to be better by most – whether it is or not. WordPress alone controls over 18% of the Web. Not because it is an inherently better system or because it provides greater value than every other option, but because it is perceived as the best.

In the CMS industry, we have an intersection of “free” and “name brand”.  What other industry has a name brand product with a $0 price tag? This is what we’re up against.

I believe that proprietary software – be it an operating system, a programming language, or a content management system – provides a better experience than Open Source software. Whether it provides better overall value is for the researchers and analysts to decide. Many people pay a premium for the experience they get from iPhones, BMWs and Starbuck’s. Proprietary software is the same – the experience is worth paying for.

I’m calling all proprietary software believers to rise up. We’re fighting a war of perception. And we’re losing! Help me spread the good word of the Proprietary Software Experience!

As for Dave’s lies, a turncoat is always hard to believe Winking smile