The path to free will be a major challeneg for the current century, as the price of stuff follows the marginal cost of producing it down to virtually free.

Music is effectively free off the web, despite the best efforts of the music industry, yet the other parts of the industry are doing well, tours, merchandise, the amount of product is increasing, devices like the iPod are booming, just the sales of the CD’s are tanking.

Software is now largely for free, you can still pay full whack for Windows or Office if you like, but few outside  corporate do so, and there are thousands of “apps” emerging for devices that are very cheap, approaching free, and streaming of movies is increasingly happening, although as the penetration of Blue-ray increases, it  will slow the “free” uptake a bit as people figure out how to beat the security.

What about games?

They are still $99 from the retailer in the mall, and when a new blockbuster comes out, the retailers are packed with kids buying them, the same kids who would not pay for a new song from their favorite artist.  Why are the games not yet for free?? Will it happen?? Inevitably.

Anything that can be digitised will follow the road to (almost)  free, the money will be made in the value adding products and services, the way Red Hat  Have made a business providing service to free Linux software users, and Apple have made a business out of selling the iPod when the music is essentially free.

However, you will probably still have to pay for your carrots down at the green grocers.