Misys-Allscripts could be big win for open source

Misys Healthcare fulfilled its earlier commitment to open source its code last month. Its chief open source officer, Tim Elwell, told ZDNet that commitment remains in place.

Misys logo
Misys Healthcare is being split-off from its parent and is acquiring 54% of Allscripts.

The deal could be a big win for open source. Or it might not be.

It might be because Misys Healthcare fulfilled its earlier commitment to open source its code last month. Its chief open source officer, Tim Elwell, told ZDNet that commitment remains in place.

The deal was put together by ValueAct Capital, a U.S. hedge fund which holds a big Misys stake. It will increase its stake through the deal, and Misys shares rose about 25% on the news, spurred by a special cash dividend.

Misys is the acquiring company in part because it's based in London, and at $2/pound that money is more fun to work with right now.

Allscripts posted a video interview with its CEO, Glen Tullman, and Misys' Mike Lawrie on its Web site. Tullman will run the combined company, which he said will have one-third of the physician EMR market.

Lawrie, however, said customers will have a choice between the two companies' offerings:

We are going to continue to support the products that we have out there...

But now Misys customers have a choice. Do they want to continue with that? Do they want to continue to look at some of those offerings, or do they want to take a look at some of the best of breed products that Allscripts has?

That, plus the companies' commitment to focus on Software as a Service (SaaS), may limit the number of future Misys code releases, so open source advocates need to watch carefully.

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