Re: First mover advantage
"If someone wrote something equivalent to your software, by the time they got it to market you would have version 2 ready."
Thing is, copycatting also makes it easier to leapfrog. Since all the effort of the v1's already done, they can think of ways to one-up you. So by the time you come up with a version 2, they may have not only anticipated but also gotten ahead of you, coming up with the equivalent of your version 3 at the same time. Suddenly you're in the uncomfortable position known as "First is Worst."
If you can be so easily leapfrogged with no recourse, why bother trying? As a result, we could end up back in the days of the Renaissance when most works were reserved for commissions from the wealthy and powerful. Note that most of the revered works of art were just that: commissions only revealed to the public long after it was originally made and therefore useless in a contemporary sense. How would you like it if the most useful software (and by that you can include the stuff needed to make other software: compilers and the like) was instead kept under the lock and key of ultra-conglomerates a la Gibson's Sprawl?