IBM and more recently Microsoft are responsible for the deaths of many a software company. Both companies, IBM in their prime back in the day and Microsoft in the last few decades would see what programs are selling well and then bundle those apps into the next release of the OS. This was a sure-fire way to generate revenue and ensure a large number of people upgraded.
I got to thinking that many service providers are going to do the same. Packaging is a good marketing move as it reduces churn and makes customers think they are getting a good deal.
Recently AOL started to include antivirus software with their service and got into the bundling game as well.. I wonder if service providers will eventually compete with Microsoft in software distribution. After all, AOL could offer just about any software and their distribution cost will be nothing. They could even include free support while you are a customer.
Microsoft has a lock on word processing and spreadsheets for now but if a really good Linux alternative came along I could see service providers offering them to their customers. Perhaps OpenOffice will evolve to become this application suite.
Then there is Google with the rumors of them developing a browser. If they do, it isn’t far-fetched to think they would release a word processor and other desktop apps. I haven’t figured out a revenue model but they might do it just to take share from Microsoft and eventually come up with a way to monetize it. IMO bundling will become more and more common and there will be more and more software suite choices for us to choose from.
Certainly VoIP will be a service that many providers will distribute as well. Actually VoIP might just be an application that ties into a service. What I mean is a simple software download could on the back end tie into voicemail, etc. Some providers will deliver TV as well. It will be interesting to see how the market shapes up around bundling and if there will be a few winners in the game or if this trend will lead to a highly fragmented market.