SugarCRM eyes a public offering

SugarCRM eyes a public offering

Speaking at SugarCRM conference, the Sun CEO touts MySQL's open source model and growth rate

Who are you taking customers away from -- or are you just getting new CRM customers?

Oram: Well, there's a combination of both. Basically one of the fascinating things about the way the open source model works is that [with] traditional software proprietary models, you spend two years building the software solution, then you go hire a really expensive marketing and sales organization, and then you go out and [do] target marketing into specific segments, hoping that what you've built would meet their needs. Hoping that what you just invested in building would actually be the right solution. Open source has a completely different approach in that we build our solution, we post the Community Edition on the Internet, and downloads happen around the world. We have downloads in every country in the world happening right now. And that demand pulls us into markets. So our phone has been ringing off the hook since we first started launching the company back in 2004. We're not targeting specific segments, we're not targeting specific sizes of companies. Companies are calling us. We have customers from the smallest of SOHOs [small office/home office] to SMBs [small/medium-size businesses] to SMEs [small and medium-size enterprises] up to the largest of enterprise. ... We've taken customers away from pretty much everything, from the smallest of solutions up to Siebel's.

What license are you using?

Oram: Our Community Edition is licensed under the GPL (GNU General Public License) v3.

Why did you go with GPL 3 over GPL 2?

Oram: When we were looking at the GPLv3, basically what we saw is the most modern open source public license that's going to last for the next 10 years plus. The v2 was written over 10 years ago [and was] really designed for a different age of computing. The Internet really hadn't taken off.

What is the benefit of v3 for the Internet?

Oram: It's got some provisions in there about how the distribution of the software comes into place, how the patent protection comes into place as well. It's a more modern license and we really felt that we wanted a license that would go with us for the next 10 years.

What is SugarCRM's sales model?

Oram: You can download Sugar, open source Sugar Community Edition today. Go to our Web site, download it from there. No restrictions around distributing it, around modifying it, all the things that you'd expect with publicly licensed software. We have three editions: Sugar Community Edition, Sugar Professional edition, Sugar Enterprise edition. The Professional and Enterprise editions are commercially licensed products; these are the subscriptions that we sell. You can deploy them onsite or on-demand, so there's kind of two dimensions there.

What's a difference between the three of them?

Oram: There's more functionality in Professional, more functionality in Enterprise. The Community Edition has really been designed for small companies, for the SMB, SOHO environment. The Professional Edition has really been designed for SMBs and SMEs, and the Enterprise edition is designed for the largest enterprises around the world. With the Commercial Edition, not only do you get features and functionality that aren't available in the Community Edition, but you also get full support, training, access to professional services, all of that.

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