Further Commoditization of the Metal and Appreciation of the Mental
This week, Sun Microsystems announced that the most powerful CPU they've ever designed (89.6 Ghz of parallel computing on a single chip) will be released as an open-source technology under GPL (General Public License). Still this week, Lenovo announced that they will begin selling IBM Thinkpads with Linux pre-installed and fully supported by them. Dell had started selling Linux-based PCs earlier this year.
This basically tells us that what's under the hood (hardware, operating system and other "enabling software", a.k.a. the Metal) is becoming commodity.
In the last 15 years, we've experienced a strong presence of hardware and operating system in the value chain of information technologies. Globalization and fierce competition brought hardware to a level of undifferentiated low-margin products. Operating systems seem to be following the same trend.
On the other hand, the Mental is making great strides: content, knowledge, expertise, application, all the "abstract and smart stuff" seem to gain appreciation in the industry's value chain.
So, expect more competition to get enticing and relevant content out to the largest audiences possible in the most pervasive way. The future growth of this industry seem to be coming from the part closest to the user, and farthest from the power plug.