Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Black Market

There has been a fair amount of speculation lately about why Blackboard has taken a strategy that has clearly been ill-received by the education community that it so dearly depends upon. Some have indicated that it is the mark of desperation ... but most don't buy that argument since they have somewhere between 70-80% of the CMS market currently locked up. Why would the dominant player in the market be concerned, especially when it is widely thought to be such a tough thing to change from one CMS to another?

Others have asked why they chose to attack D2L as opposed to eCollege, or Angel, or any of the others. It was amusing to read some posts where the authors didn't even consider D2L to be a contender in the market, some even admitting that they had never heard of D2L. Below is a partial list of the reasons why I think BlackCT is suing Desire2Learn (not necessarily in chronological order):

There is little doubt in my mind that every one of those items listed above just added to BlackCT's disgust with being passed over or discarded in favor of Desire2Learn. Some of those losses are with huge, major, high-profile clients and that translates into multi-millions of dollars in lost licensing fees.

Some of my favorite quotes from the links above:
  • "those who tested D2L said it was easier to go from Blackboard 5 to D2L than to Blackboard 6." (from OU)
  • "our Information Technology (IT) people had phoned D2L with a problem at 3:00 a.m., and it was resolved in 15 minutes." (from OU)
  • "The group strongly believes that the benefits of Desire2Learn are more than worth the discomfort of learning a new system." (MnSCU)
  • "Desire2Learn is the first enterprise CMS vendor to solve the Chuck Paradox and provides the most flexible solution to support collegiate and departmental innovation." (Iowa)
  • "Accumulated knowledge about WebCT is transferable to D2L. The change from one to the other is analogous to the change from a rotary phone to a push-button phone." (Arizona)
  • "Overall, it is clear that the core team finds neither Blackboard nor Angel acceptable CMS solutions for Ohio State, as they do not have the basic functionality required by Ohio State."
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