The DreamWorks animation film Kung Fu Panda is very popular and was a big success. Did you notice that the main characters share certain similarities with actors in the IT world? The snow leopard Tai Lung for instance is a bit like Google: they are both awesome and powerful, but also very dangerous. The growth and strength are phenomenal. Yet people are concerned and frightened about the big threat.
The main character Po the panda is more like Microsoft: big, clumsy, and very powerful, too, if they only would wake up and stop thinking about themselves (i.e. eating noodles). Tangled up in their own spaghetti (code), both dream of a better world and realize their full potential only occasionally. Although people mock them, they do not give up.
And there are the Furious Five – Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey – the competitors. Mantis is a bit like 37 Signals with their gem Ruby on Rails: very small, but also very powerful. Yahoo is more like Monkey: wants to be as strong as the snow leopard, but pales in comparison, and acts like a monkey from time to time.
P.S. It is just meant to be an analogy or metaphor (COMPANIES AS ACTORS) with limited validity, judge yourself how much it is true. I have much respect for all of the mentioned companies, and worked with their products for a long time. The apophenia blog tries to draw a similar analogy between companies and countries (COMPANIES AS COUNTRIES)