The idea that using an open community to help solve problems is much easier than trying to hire all the smartest people in the world and keeping them locked in a cubicle farm somewhere has come of age. The days of ivory tower design and implementation of software have really passed and any software company worth it's salt is going to have to figure out how to win through cooperation and coordination instead of secrecy and competition.
In my wanderings on this issue, I also noticed that Mark Shuttleworth had posted a blog entry just a couple days ago that seems to hint at things to come from Canonical. Of particular interest to me is that he seems very keen on the netbook and smartphone market which I think is a tremendously smart (no pun intended) move. In addition, the idea of openly discussing corporate strategy is interesting and might be a hint at how to harness the power of the network effect.
A big thing to consider is that the whole of the world economy isn't necessarily a zero sum game. Often, people assumed that for one organization to be a winner in a market, there must necessarily be losers. In the real world, however, this is not really accurate. A more accurate picture is likely to say the there might be some folks who win MORE than others, but is not necessary for me to take something away from you to benefit. If I create a new market and you add to it... we both potentially benefit.
It seems to me that Mark Shuttleworth will be talked about in the future as Bill Gates is talked about now. First off, he's already done wonders, but more importantly, he's still doing amazing things.