How to Choose a Real Time Operating System Vendor

RTOS vendors often go out of business

Green Hlls Software customers, RTOS, INTEGRITY, embedded RTOS

What is an acceptable risk that your RTOS vendor will go out of business in the next few years? 1%? 10%? 20%? If you choose randomly, the probability is much higher than that. Half of the largest RTOS vendors have left the RTOS business in the last few years. Several more are in deep financial trouble and may not survive much longer. Unless you choose carefully, it is very likely that your RTOS vendor will go out of business in the next few years. You can avoid being the person who recommended an RTOS vendor that went out of business by applying a few simple rules that allow you to easily recognize RTOS vendors that are likely to go out of business.

Never choose an RTOS vendor less than 5 years old

Ninety percent of all businesses fail within the first five years. If your RTOS vendor has been in business less than 5 years the chance of it failing in the next few years is way too high. It is not worth the risk.

Never choose an RTOS vendor that is losing money

Most businesses that are losing money after more than five years in business go out of business soon. Investors are not willing to pour money down a rat hole forever waiting for a return on their investment. Eventually they pull the plug, leaving all of their customers in the lurch. Only choose an RTOS vendor that is making money. Its investors are happy and the company is likely to stay in business.

Low prices should not attract you to a money-losing RTOS vendor. In order to stay in business they will have to raise prices once you are committed to them! A profitable company has already established the prices at which it can operate indefinitely.

A profitable company can invest in new research and development, keeping up with the latest technology. A company that is losing money will cut back research and development, saddling you with obsolete technology, as your competitors roll out the latest technology. Cut backs in support will delay your development schedule as you wait for their skeleton crew to fix your bugs or answer your questions.

A money-losing RTOS vendor is not worth the risk.

Never choose an RTOS vendor whose market share is shrinking

A vendor whose market share is growing is satisfying its customers and it is winning new converts. A vendor whose market share is shrinking is losing its existing customers and failing to win new converts. Its customers are reducing purchases either because they are dissatisfied or because they are failing. Which RTOS vendor should you choose, one whose customers are satisfied and prospering or one whose customers are dissatisfied and failing? Even if a vendor has a high market share, if its market share is declining, stay far away.

Never choose an RTOS vendor who has no technology!

RTOS vendors that can't develop their own core RTOS and development tools technology usually don't stay in business very long. What exactly is a "high technology" business that doesn't own any technology? They are just fancy marketing machines. They people they employ don't design, implement, or understand fundamental RTOS and development tool technology. They can't support their customers with critical bug fixes or cogent advice. Their support consists of handholding and commiseration. Pretty soon customers discover that they are getting very little for their money; the vendor's business declines; and then the vendor goes out of business.

RTOS Vendor Checklist

  • In business more than 5 years
  • Making a profit
  • Market share growing
  • Has developed RTOS and development tools technology
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