If the new wave do end up undercutting the Big 4, won’t the Big 4 just buy the new wave companies?
The new wave are venture funded…venture capitalist want to cash out at some point. All VC funded companies are up for sale to some degree. So, when the Big 4 come a shoppin’ they’ll get what they want.
If I were a betting man, I’d be happy to bet that the Big 4 weighed pretty heavily in the new wave business plans. They are the ones with the money, they have the market and they are well used to VC backed companies.
If the new wave, as open source companies, conjure images of hippies doin’ it for the freedom man, then I think that you are a bit out of date. Open source has come a long way since MIT in the 1970s.
The new wave aren’t a challenge to the Big 4 per se, they are a challenge to how open the Big 4 become. If the new wave are successful, the Big 4 buy the open source companies and become more open in the process. If the new wave are not successful, then the status quo prevails.
Update June 2013: amazing how wrong you can be. The Big 4 haven’t bought the “new wave” at all. Not a single one. The status quo won out.