I found this very interesting article about “The Business of Free“, which shows how much money and time the big companies could save by supporting existing Open Source Software that offers functionality which is much needed by them.
The short version:
You might’ve heard that the Palm Pre used iTunes (amongst direct file transfers) to sync music from your computer to the device. Apple blocked that in an act which is typical for a proprietary software vendor. So this article suggests that Palm should use Amarok (which is Open Source), polish it up to look and work well on Windows as well as on OSX, probably even brand it and ship that with the Palm, to sync music. Based on the size of Palm, they might even be able to convince Amazon to support Amarok as a client for their online music store!
Now imagine that, all the groundwork is done, Amarok does exist, its a pretty nice music player, and it is in active development. All Palm needs to do is to put a bit of developer work in, work with the community (yes, thats very important, too!), and get Amarok in a good state for these proprietary operating systems. Everyone would benefit, and Palm also would gain awesome reputation in the open source community!
Same would work for Nokia, by the way. Why develop your own music player / sync software, when you can make use of existing software thats open, and whos developers would be happy to accept some additional development resources. Just make sure that you work with the community, not against it.
I think this is a great idea, and I hope that some of the big players adopt this over time, for the sake of all of us.