Business software maker Oracle has managed to grab more than its fair share of headlines this year, despite not doing all that much.
Oracle's audacious bid for rival PeopleSoft was dismissed by some as a spoiling tactic to disrupt the PeopleSoft-JD Edwards tie up.
But with that deal safely wrapped up, Oracle's offer has remained on the table and hangs over PeopleSoft like the Sword of Damocles.
Smaller firms in the market have also had plenty of food for thought.
Baan was finally sold off by parent company Invensys, which had never seemed sure of what to do with the software maker, and finally decided to sell it off at a loss.
Baan has now been swallowed up by SSA Global, which has been on a spending spree and building an impressive customer base.
At the lower end, Microsoft made its long-awaited entry into the market with the release of its customer relationship management software.
And seasoned Microsoft watchers know that when it goes for a market, the software giant tends to compete heavily on price.
One of the reasons for Microsoft to pitch into a new market is a recognition that its dominance of the lucrative desktop market may be under threat.
Since its emergence as an enterprise-class server operating system, the momentum behind Linux has been growing.
And while it's still too early to see much evidence of widespread use of Linux on the desktop, in the UK the cost-conscious public sector has been considering it as a serious possibility.
But Linux has suffered its own difficulties in 2003. Not least of which was SCO, claiming that its ownership of Unix code had been infringed by Linux.
As the year draws to a close, SCO's case appears to be weakening. But the emergence of its claims has highlighted fears that open source software faces significant challenges in proving that it is suitable for businesses.
The open source movement has to be able to show users they will be not infringing intellectual property rights by running the software.
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