Magento is one of the most popular open source platforms ever, taking as much as 30% of the e-commerce market.
However, the future of Magento is increasingly cloudy. Magento is owned by eBay and forms part of their eBay Enterprise unit. After announcing the departure of PayPal, eBay is now looking to get rid of eBay Enterprises.
What will happen to Magento and who will control its future? No-one knows.
How did Magento
Although Magento is an open source, it has always been headed by a corporation. In early 2011 eBay purchased 49% of Magento Inc and shortly afterwards took full control.
Key staff started leaving in 2012 and the founder left in 2014.
Magento Go was the hosted version aimed at small businesses. Together with EBay's ProStore platform, it's due to close on February 1st with the loss of around 10,000 customers.
Magento 2 was announced in 2010 with an expected delivery date of late 2011. Now the planned date the end of2015. There are sites and Twitter accounts making fun of the constant delays. This is the best overview I could find of the current situation with Magento 2.
Even though Magento is officially open source and on Github, there were complaints that eBay has been forging it's own path:
"the public Github is nothing more than a weekly sync-spot for the internal [eBay] repo".
Now eBay is getting rid of Magento, together with its "eBay Enterprise" division. Karen Baker at WebShopApps says:
"the Magento side is only really making money around the PayPal revenue it generates, nothing more."
If that's true, there really is no longer any reason to keep Magento around, because PayPal will be owned by another company.
So What Comes Next?
The most likely outcome is another corporate buyer. Karen Baker says:
"I personally don’t see an IPO, I think a company like Accenture, IBM, Oracle even will step in here and make an offer."
It's a long shot, but if it's hard to find a buyer, then eBay could consider handing the project back into the community, perhaps to a new non-profit foundation.