From FT in an article which asks if Linux can dethrone Microsoft, the reigining software king:
With hardware and operating systems becoming more standardised, computer makers will have to turn to other areas – the software applications that run on computers and the services and support needed to build complex systems – to generate a profit. While HP leads in the Linux business, claiming the free software drove sales of computer systems worth $2bn last year, IBM is probably the best-placed to benefit from this trend – hence its enthusiastic embrace of Linux. With the world’s biggest IT services arm and a software business based on middleware – programs that sit between an operating system and the different software applications – Big Blue has ample incentive to reshape the corporate computing business in its own image.
That model of software development is diametrically opposed to the Microsoft approach and points to the battle to come. By building more features into its operating system directly, Microsoft claims its customers will need to spend less on middleware and integration services to build their corporate networks.