When cofounder Jay Batson was putting together his start-up Acquia last year, he figured one advantage would help it stand out from all the other companies that manage Web content for business clients.
The software was free.
"Free is very disruptive," Batson said. "In a fragmented market, 'free' commands a lot of attention."
Batson's Andover company sells products, services, and technical support for Drupal, an open source software platform originally authored by company cofounder Dries Buytaert. Open source means it's built and maintained by a worldwide army of volunteer programmers, and unlike the pricey products offered by traditional software companies, is available for anybody to use at no cost. With Drupal, Acquia would be able to price its services without having to charge customers for any hefty software license fees.