As we have been writing about here for some time, there has been an open question about the future of Blackboard's partnership with Moodle. Through its acquisitions, Blackboard has become the world's largest Moodle support company. This means that they also contribute a hefty percentage of the annual operating budget for Moodle Pty. Both sides have good reason to get along—Blackboard because Moodle has been key to their growth in international markets and Moodle because Blackboard contributes such a substantial portion of the money that keeps Moodle running every year. But there have been challenges in aligning the specific needs of both sides to make the relationship work. In my post about Blackboard's new CEO, Bill Ballhaus, I wrote the following as one of the things the new leader will have to accomplish:
- Resolve the tensions with Moodle HQ (one way or another): As Phil and I have written about before, Moodle is critical to Blackboard’s international growth, but there are growing signs of tension between Blackboard and Moodle HQ, the company that shepherds Moodle’s open source development. While this item is less of a “must do” than it is a “probably gonna happen,” I think it likely that Blackboard will either mend fences or go its separate ways in the next six months. Unresolved tensions are not good for either organization.
Well, it looks like fences have been mended. Blackboard and Moodle Pty. have announced a renewal of the partnership. Based on both from the press release and comments made by both sides, Phil and I believe that both sides made and received concessions to restructure the relationship, and that both sides seemed to be happy about the result.
If you're a fan of Moodle, or just of diversity in the LMS market (including open source options), then you should be happy about this resolution. At the same time, it enables Blackboard to keep driving its successful international growth strategy, of which Moodle is an essential part.