I was reminded today of a quote by Bill Gates I had read 6 years ago in then-Sun Microsystem’s just-ex-CEO, Jonathan Schwartz. Here it is:
The software business [is] all about building variable revenue streams from a fixed engineering cost base
This is from Schwartz’s Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal post, which is also very informative about how Software Patents are used in practice.
The above is an important definition for everyone involved in building software to keep in mind and never lose sight of.