There's a great discussion going on over at Slash dot about the demise (yes/no) of the single person software company. What gets me about this is that the U.S. patent office provides very little protection for small software businesses like this. If you happen to write some sort of ground-breaking new software product and you are able to get a patent on it you are responsible for defending that patent if somebody is infringing upon it. In other words the small company is left to hire lawyers (which is an expensive venture) to take on possibly large companies which have (and can afford) their own legal team. Inevitably the original idea will be "stolen" and there really isn't a whole lot a single person can do about it. As a single developer why innovate if your great idea has such a good chance of being stolen eventually?