Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Acquia's Competitive Advantage

I love the Acquia business model on so many levels-- open source, lots of runway ($14M+)to try different things.

But what I find most interesting is Acquia's competitive advantage vis-a-vie the Drupal commercial ecology.

In the comments of an Acquia post it was noted that their "Drupal Commons" product violates the basic guidelines of the Drupal trademark policy ( But actually, use of the Drupal trademark is up to Dries.
"licenses are granted at Dries Buytaert's sole discretion" (
There is tremendous competitive advantage when you get to use the Drupal brand (Drupal Gardens, Drupal Commons) which is far stronger than the Acquia brand and presumably, competitors must follow the published trademark rules.

The bigger fascination to me is that they understand that taking a little slice of the revenue of as much of the commercial Drupal ecology as possible is far better than trying to win against any single segment of the ecology. Look for the launch the "Drupal App Store." Nice to be able to use that trademark...

Ultimately, Acquia is good for Drupal and will be a good member of the community. But the simple fact is that investors own Acquia and Acquia makes decisions based on shareholder value. As long as shareholder value and community good intersect, all is good. It will be interesting to see what happens when they don't intersect.