Reply to post: What do you expect?

Red Hat: OpenStack big, getting bigger, OpenShift fatter than Linux


What do you expect?

Disclosure: I work for Red Hat, but not in a customer-facing role (I work on Fedora, which has no customers).

I really dunno why you'd find that a problem. Jim's talking about *existing customers* who, when their support contracts expire, invoke the possibility of cancelling their support contracts and going self-supported instead (either as a negotiation tactic, or as a genuine option).

Remember the context of the call: it's an *investor* call. It's Jim, speaking on behalf of the company, talking to people with a very strong interest in the company making money. In that context, I don't see how you possibly *can* describe that from the perspective of the company other than as a 'threat'. We're a for-profit company, we need paying customers to survive. Our shareholders need us to have paying customers in order for their shares to have any value. So of course, from our perspective, the possibility of losing a paying customer is a 'threat'.

Of course no sane salesperson (I've heard they exist! Honest!) would describe it as a 'threat' when actually dealing with a customer. Nor would Jim phrase it that way when talking to customers rather than talking to shareholders, or talking to our sales teams. But really, it seems silly to take umbrage at the use of the term in this context.

Say you currently have a contract with Microsoft, but you're considering buying from Red Hat or Google instead when the contract comes to an end. Surely it's reasonable for Microsoft to consider that a 'threat' to their sales? Would you really get snarky about it if they described it that way, in an earnings call? There's really no difference to this case. A customer going to 'self-support' - which, to be clear, means using our software without paying us any money, an option you have with very few software providers! - is clearly a 'threat' to our revenue.

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