Imagine being able to build an entire business by walking into a store and buying the pieces you need, in the same way you would if you were building, in a do-it-yourself fashion, a new kitchen, bathroom or garage. The common components of these businesses would be functions like open an account, create a bill, process a credit card payment, lookup credit rating and auction this item on eBay. Like the DIY construction industry, the implications of the 'end user' supplying itself are far reaching.
In 2008 at least two ventures have launched that prove the veracity of the predictions here. Rollbase offers "a growing library of web-based business applications that can be installed into your Rollbase account with a single click." Coghead lets you easily build your own applications and then lets you share them with anyone, any time, any place. And of course Microsoft's bid for Yahoo is about control of the Cloudsphere - a 'place' where all these applications will reside.
The web services paradigm is for those who belong to upstarts, who don't have anything to lose, and the risk-takers among big companies, who are willing to bet more heavily on the future than they do on the past.