I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Sigal who has captured the big shift pretty accurately:
The conventional wisdom the past 20 years has been dominated by the loosely-coupled, ‘horizontal’ model that made Microsoft a lethal killer (upon the release of Windows 3.1 in 1992). That model was so effective that it made Bill Gates the richest man in the world, and industry after industry embraced horizontal as the ‘one right way.’
With the advent of the Internet, however, the downside of horizontal – a vicious cycle of commoditization – played out. Now, we are at the end-game, a point where few companies can make money under this model, unless they are the core supplier of the secret sauce. Thus, I believe that the next 20 years will look less like Microsoft and more like Apple; namely, tightly integrated, and vertically focused businesses where bricks to clicks are logistically worked out in a more than the sum of the parts fashion. Bet on the companies that figure this one out.
(via The Network Garden)