Open source and Software as a service have been mentioned as two of the main drivers behind a fall in software licensing costs according to research firm Gartner.
The research note, issued last Friday points to seven trends that are converging to change the way software is delivered.
These include Business Process Outsourcing, low cost development environments, Open Source, Software as a service, Service oriented architectures, third party maintenance and the rise of giants like China, Brazil and India.
Apart from SaaS, all those trends point to emerging markets as the hotbed of innovation and the main driving force behind a reduction in costs.
"Up until now, the unique nature of the software market has meant that buyers had very little negotiating power after the initial purchase of a software license," William Snyder, Gartner Vice President, wrote in the report.
"We expect those dynamics to change considerably over the next five to 10 years."
Although Snyder explicitly said that Microsoft won't be toppled anytime soon, software licensing is bound to experience some turbulence as the focus shifts from desktop bound software to server based applications.
And with rivals and competitors, like Salesforce, Open Office or IBM, queuing up to milk Microsoft Windows and Office software cash cows, the Redmond company will need to make sure its software licensing model doesn't become obsolete.