Ian Murdock’s Weblog » Open source and the commoditization of software
Ian starts with a history of commodisation in computer industry and continues about how dangerouse is the tactic employed by RedHat (to redefine 'Linux' as a platform). In the end Ian describes the business model that is used at Progeny.
I must agree with Ian that usig the commodisation rather then fighting it is the best strategy in the long term, but the problem is in the short term - gaining the start-up advantage. Starting a business is a high risk in itself and starting it without a specific advantage is upping the risk above what venture capitalists would allow. In other words the question is - after you've spend your start-up funds and gained some customers, what will stop the previose encumberant of just repeating your business model, just using his resourses.
That kind brings me back to writing my master thesis about open and transitional software development business models. At least, now that I've taken an academic brake, I hace the time to consider it.