My answer to How has the business software world changed/evolved over the last five years?
Answer by Ken Larson:
Business software is inexorably tied to parallel developments in other areas of technology and the business software market is shifting in tandem with them.
As a result of the tremendous capacity built into the communications industry during the dot com boom, organizations like Google, Amazon and others are offering these pathways and domains with tremendous economies of scale world wide for the advertising revenue.
Corporations like IBM are capitalizing on the developments by moving from a products to a services market to building tremendous associated revenues by offering entire countries like China, for instance a complete huge server farm and their own capability in the cloud.
This type of development is occurring as we speak all over the globe. Governments like the US are evolving their own version of private clouds for classified domains.
The net effect of all of this is that all the fascination we see presently about terminal hardware applications will be over in the near future. The "Cloud" and SaaS will rock the hardware and software world and make access to technology easier for vast populations. Devices to do so will cost pennies on the current dollar or the will be free.
Like the PC makers, the sun is already setting on cell phone devices, associated applications, OTS packaged software and related products. Even though these products are enjoying current popularity They are expensive and will be rapidly overtaken by tight economics and services competition.
Smart, strategic planners are pointing to the future and it is not a hardware and licensed software market – it is service oriented with low cost access and rates. Volume, free products, advertising and shareware will drive it all.
Possible exceptions for a bit longer period of time are the high-end hardware and software technologies in government contracting, which for security reasons must be cloistered, protected and safeguarded. Your friendly government agency will be the last to boot its PC out the window.