I have had the pleasure of speaking to a lot of portal people lately and I am blown away by something that I did not expect. Lets call this the rift of expectations.
People who have portals are saying "Don't turn portal into something else. I dont want a social networking tool, I dont want a document manager". People who sell portals all say "we want to be Sharepoint". You know what? Sharepoint is pretty cool and I can see that if you look at Sharepoint you might want to deploy it. But its not a portal.
What you may not realize is that Sharepoint isn't one product. In fact Sharepoint is a bundle of products one of which is arguably a portal. When you look at all of the would be competitors to Sharepoint (IBM, Oracle, some of the Open Source Portals). You see that they are kind of bundles too.
The huge advantage of bundles is better interoperability between the bundled parts. Which bring about a question do bundles limit choice? Or even better - Are bundles anti Open.
Here is my test case - The Super Value Meal at McDonalds. What I would like to know is has the super value meal hurt other McD's products? For example the milkshake or a sandwich that is not in the Super Value Meal scheme. My gut tells me that people will just go with the bundle since it's easier. And there must be some truth to that since they have been around for a while. Now I will reach out and hypothesize that has hurt milkshake sales.
My point is that bundles of software are not necessarily bad. But I think they take a level of focus off of what they customer needs to build their solution. I also think that bundles inadvertantly hurt the milshakes.