And it is not working anymore.
In the Windows world - We (Microsoft) make Windows, somebody (the Independent Hardware Ventor - IHV) makes the hardware as cheaply as possible, and you run somebody else's software on it to do useful stuff (The Independent Software Developer - ISV)
Sometimes, the 'ISV' is the company that provides you with the data or the service plan to make the other two useful.
We use this business plan over and over and over again:
Our product : IHV : ISV
The cable companies
another part of Microsoft - the SQL guys, for example
Your phone company
This model worked great, back in the day when 640k of RAM was enough for everybody, but it does not work anymore.
Here's one example. (Windows Mobile is getting massacred in the marketplace by iPhone.)
Why is this failing? Well, two reasons, at least:
You call the Microsoft helpdesk, because something is wrong with your smartphone/mp3 player/whatever. Microsoft blames the IHV (who made the gadget, as cheaply as they could), who, in turn blames the ISV (who don't have any real interest helping you after you purchased their crappy software), who, in turn, blames Microsoft (who tried to design their software, by committee, for a variety of the IHV's and ISV's whims.)
Second reason: Computers are changing into consumer electronics. 10-15 years ago, you needed to know about IRQs and DIP switches to run a computer. Today, your teenager picks a laptop based on its color.
Back in the days when computers were complex, consumers had to put up with the complexity and buck-passing of the Microsoft-IHV-ISV system.
These days, with great consumer electronics products like the iPhone around, the Microsoft-IHV-ISV system is a dinosaur.
The times we've tried to set up a new business plan (the Zune, the XBox), we get to some limited success, after digging an enormous hole. Yes, XBox is profitable (now) - but go take a look at how much money we've sunk into it already.