Open Office was eventually spun into the Apache Foundation, Oracle was forced to back off its efforts to control Java,
What investors want to know after all this is, where did the money go? It went, and is going, to people and companies using the software. It's going to those running cloud services like Google (GOOG - Get Report), and it's going to companies building services on top of clouds like Facebook (FB - Get Report).
Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst probably said it best. Software is a wrench and standardized, open source software tools are like nuts and bolts in standard sizes. The profit lies in using those tools to build the services defining the post-industrial revolution, a revolution that has only just begun.
At the time of publication the author had positions in GOOG and RHT.Follow @DanaBlankenhorn This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.