Very interesting discussion about platforms. I'm sure this isn't the end of this dialogue. (Response from Ray Ozzie with pointer to original note from Joel) As an exec in a small software company, this is incredibly relevent stuff. Based on my past experience I definitely agree with Ray's quote "…there is no question as to whether Apple or Microsoft or IBM or Lotus or Sun or Novell will have conflict with their ecosystem". So far this discussion has missed the standards issue, which is another tool/issue for platform companies to deal with. The emergence of EJB standards dramatically changed the landscape for Java app server vendors in the late 90's. I've seen companies aggressively use standards as a weapon successfully and unsuccessfully.