Canon could open source its firmware and encourage community contributions. The thinking follows that Canon's hardware (CMOS, lenses) is a whole lot more valuable than its software. While competitors could potentially reuse Canon's open source software firmware, these competitors would not be able to match Canon's hardware R&D and manufacturing processes. And in most cases, the firmware is pretty hardware-specific to Canon. Or one could argue that Canon's software is very important to its value proposition, but that opening up to an open community of developers will help Canon innovate faster than it could using its internal resources only. On the flip side, Canon's camera product portfolio would be disrupted if a programmer was able to add some firmware-based capability to a lower-end model that is only officially offered in a higher-end model. But even here, one could argue that the vast majority of Canon users will only install the official Canon firmware which would not have to include features that Canon didn't wish to add to a given product level. On the other hand, wouldn't these folks be the exact users that Canon wants to upsell to the higher-end model?
I could, and have, gone back and forth on this one. What about you?
Follow me on twitter at: SavioRodrigues
PS: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."