Exactly! Achieving leverage through components (as discussed in the video) gives one kind of advantage. Reusing software written by others is another. For example, Apple builds on CUPS and Samba, and benefits from improvements made by those who might never
own an Apple machine, let alone work for Apple. Some might argue that the balance of power in the software industry is such that this kind of re-use is the only realistic way a company could build a desktop OS that’s competitive with Windows – that’s an interesting
form of economic advantage.
Besides, I think now days most people think of an OS as more than a kernel and APIs, and the fact is OS X would be a non-starter without the ton of open source stuff that Apple includes (Samba, CUPS, gcc, Ruby, Python, Emacs, bash, and the GNU text tools
are the ones I use often – and of course there are loads I’ll never know about).
What I think is interesting is that Microsoft could use a similar trick one day, if it so desired.
As an aside, I’d love to see every Windows machine ship with IronPython one day (a fantastic open source project at Microsoft) and I think there should be a Scoble interview with Jim (you can watch a talk on IronPython from the LL4 workshop held at MIT at http://ll4.csail.mit.edu/).