SUSEcon2012 - SUSE's coming out party
Lizard or Hat - who wins?
Published 12:00, 24 September 12
- SUSE is a stable company with rational management - With profitable revenues of over $200 Million and a publicly stated plan to hit $234 for the next fiscal year, SUSE is a reasonable sized company (technical a division of $1.3 B Attachmate, but it looks and acts like an independent company), with growth rates that look to be a couple of points higher than the its segment.
- SUSE’s management has done an excellent job of focusing the company - SUSE, acknowledging its size disadvantage over competitor Red Hat, as chosen to focus heavily on enterprise Linux, publicly disavowing desktop and mobile device directions. SUSE’s claim is that their market share in the core enterprise segment is larger than their overall market share compared to Red Hat. This is a hard number to even begin to tweeze out, but it feels like a reasonable claim.
- SUSE has done an excellent job of projecting an image of high quality - SUSE’s focus and aggressive migration to the Linux 3.0 kernel (along with competitor Oracle) positions them as technically aggressive and forward looking. Red Hat’s current position favoring back porting selected 3.0 enhancements rather than moving to the 3.0 kernel is probably an artifact of product development schedules and possibly the inherent conservatism that sometimes creeps into the DNA of a dominant market leader. In the end, Red Hat’s Linux remains eminently suitable for enterprise use, and they will eventually move to the 3.0 kernel, but this is a business where image matters, and both SUSE and Oracle have given the appearance of technical aggressiveness exceeding that of Red Hat.
- The acquisition and transition issues are behind it - Over the past year I had a number of discussions with North American clients about the future of SUSE, its viability, and the risks of continuing to invest in it. I think the time for these questions is past. SUSE is a profitable, growing division of a $1B plus company, and all the omens point to its health and continued success.