Movable Type vs. Wordpress War Heats up

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Movable Type vs. Wordpress War Heats up

Braveheart Ready for a WarA day after Movable Type announced that Movable Type 4.0 would be GPL open source, Movable Type has stopped their retreat from Wordpress and the battle lines have been redrawn. "Are you ready for a war!!!!"

Wordpress fans have been quick to attack Six Apart's latest move. Technosailor has a funny post titled Five Things Movable Type Learned from Bilbo Baggins, where he compares Movable Type with characters from the Tolkien Trilogy.

Mark Evans gives a nice synopsis of the history of Movable Type and ponders how MT lost its first-mover/early-mover advantage. Mark says, "In the tech world, all you need is one small, but crucial, mistake to find yourself going from the penthouse to the outhouse. In MT’s case, it was the decision to introduce a paid-version in 2004 that caused a revolt among its large and loyal user-based."

Movable Type/Six Apart did indeed lose its first-mover edge with their change in their licensing model, but is that enough to crown Wordpress the permanent "king blogging platform" in MIddle-Earth? I don't think so. Publishing 2.0 put it best when it said, "One X factor in this competition is large media companies and other enterprise users, many of whom adopted MT when it was on top and then never switched over to WordPress, i.e. they weren’t anywhere near as nimble (or outraged by licensing fees) as independent bloggers."

That's exactly what happened with TMCNet's blogs. Awhile back I considered switching from Movable Type to Wordpress, but TMCNet has over a dozen blogs and Wordpress is not equipped to handle it. Wordpress is better suited for individual blogs not for managing several blogs. Movable Type on the other hand does a pretty decent job managing dozens of blogs in the enterprise.

Publishing 2.0 has an excellent point when the post says, "As for bloggers and other independent publishers, I can say for myself that I have a strong loyalty to WordPress and to the development community that has served me so well. Part of that loyalty is not tied to specific features or benefits, but a more fuzzy brand loyalty."

I would add to that by saying there is just as strong of a loyal following of Movable Type users as there are Wordpress users. In fact, many current Wordpress users are former Movable Type users, so they did switch "loyalties" because Wordpress offered a GPL open sourced model and Movable Type didn't. Now that this competitive advantage that Wordpress had is gone, the two CMS blogging platforms will compete on features alone. This is great news for bloggers, since competition will drive innovation and more features much more quickly.

Wordpress definitely has more brand "mind share" these days if not a stronger "market share" than Movable Type. However, I honestly don't see either blogging platform dominating the blogosphere. In fact, since Six Apart is leveraging the open source community and they have paid developers, I wouldn't be surprised to see Movable Type leapfrog Wordpress in features, functionality, and market share. Only time will tell...

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