You claim that there is little money in the desktop software business and more in services. Well here is something I would pay money for:
Take the top selling business laptops from Dell, Acer, HP, Lenovo and offer customized distributions for them.
I would pay for that in an instant. All too often people confuse open source with free of charge. I’m perfectly capable of making that distinction. In fact, I use my machines for my work and don’t want to spend days configuring all the devices on them. As such, I would pay something like 50 USD for a customized (K)Ubuntu or perhaps 150-200 USD if it came with some sort of (e-mail) support contract for a year.
I don’t use Linux / Ubuntu because it costs less, I use it because I prefer it over Windows to do my job. I would pay that kind of money because I would save time and money in the long run.
Until the major hardware vendors offer decent (worldwide) support for Linux on their machines (out of the box that is), I think this is an idea with potential and I hope at least someone picks it up. Go ahead, let me spend money on it!
Until next time,