Assessment of open source business strategies in the domain of embedded systems: Master's thesis

Ronnie Anthony Wong

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesisTheses


It is increasingly understood across the domain of embedded systems that engagement with open source software (OSS) development can provide various benefits. Open source can boost the formulation of new partnerships, provide new communication and recruitment channels, introduce efficient software development methodologies and formulate valuable resources and capabilities for companies. The growing global mobile phone market with over one billion units sold annually represents a particularly prominent domain for OSS, constituting opportunities for new entrants and new technologies. Linux, an open-source-based operating system, has been enabling well-provisioned smartphones since 2002, and is currently being deployed by such companies as Nokia, Google and Samsung. Linux offers a lower software bill of materials (BOM) and faster time to market (TTM) than many proprietary alternatives. In order to succeed with their open source business strategies, companies need to assess, i.e., recognise and comprehend the various challenges and risks of OSS development. It is also fundamentally important to have the means to generate appropriate dynamic capabilities to benefit from the open source phenomenon. Research into OSS has concentrated on three research streams: the competitive dynamics, the motivation of voluntary contributors and the governance of open source projects. The research into the competitive dynamics of open source has focused on the categorisation of open source business models. Research concerning industry-specific domains, such as embedded systems, including the identification of relevant challenges, resources and dynamic capabilities, has lacked academic interest. This study aims to increase the theoretical and empirical understanding of open source business strategies in the domain of embedded systems by investigating open source business models, challenges, resources, and operational and dynamic capabilities. The empirical data were collected by an applied Delphi technique involving four case companies and a Delphi panel of 29 experts. This study proves the usefulness of an applied Delphi technique in the research area of the competitive dynamics of open source. Several challenges, resources, and operational and dynamic capabilities of importance to business strategies in the domain of embedded systems could be identified. The results indicate that although the idea of exploiting free OSS is extremely attractive, open source on its own is not a business case.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster Degree
Awarding Institution
  • University of Oulu
Place of PublicationOulu
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis



  • Business model
  • challenge, resource
  • operational capability
  • dynamic capability

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