Is this the beginning of the commodization of hardware and software?
Source: Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog.
In just the last few weeks, we've seen, particularly on the software side, growing signs of a sea change. As consolidation, commoditization and weakening demand turn traditional packaged software into a rust-belt industry, dominated by a couple of big suppliers looking to milk the installed base, innovation and growth seem to be shifting quickly to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) arena. Pushed by diverse utility upstarts like Google (on the consumer side, so far), Salesforce.com, RightNow Technologies, 37signals and Rearden Commerce, traditional software makers are now jockeying to position themselves as players in the SaaS world.
Software applications are, of course, only one side of the utility model. The other side is the infrastructure - the trillions of dollars worth of hardware and system software that companies today maintain privately, within their proprietary data centers. That, too, is an obsolete model, and the shift to a rationalized, "multi-tenant" utility infrastructure will likely entail even more profound changes than the related shift to software-as-a-service.