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    To "Own" or "License" Source Code - that be the question!


    I would like to know anyones thoughts or views on what would be better from a business standpoint - Own the source code or license the source code that your business runs/relies on.

    I have a system I developed over several years that is what my business relies on to run and make me money. A customer also saw the beauty in my application (SaS - Software as a service) and wanted it adapted to fit their needs which we have done. They initially licensed the source code from me, however as the business is taking form it is becoming apparent that the customers we are talking to (I am also now intimately involved in this start-up as well) are asking that we place the source code in escrow services. Because I own it and the company is licensing it from me, they have to ask me if I am OK with it being placed in an Escrow service This will have to occur each time a customer requests it and I also am opening the keys to the kingdom by releasing control of that source code.

    This software is what the business is, so the question is, what is best for a company who relies 100% on their software to make them money - should they license it or own it? What are the Pro's and Con's to this?

    Licenseing it is cheaper, but it is the best way to go in the long run? What impact would be faced in a disaster recovery situation owning versus licensing? That and many other questions I am sure are present when considering this scenario.

    I hope this opens a great discussion that can flush out all the positive and negative situations on why a company should own or license the source code that their business relies on.
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    I think it will vary from business to business and what their needs are
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    Given your situation (deriving 100% of income from the software) I'd suggest that you look at Microsoft's model.

    How many people own the Microsoft soruce code as opposed to how many people licence it?

    It's a pretty clear answer.

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