In his article What is Web 2.0? Tim O'Reilly wrote Data is the next Intel Inside (a.k.a. a strategic advantage).
In the PC world it was about controlling the operating system and its API:s (which Microsoft did with Windows), but now it is about access to scarce data. One real-life example: Nokia paid $8.1 billion for mapping company Navteq last fall. Compare that with €264 million ($410 million) for the 52 % of Symbian Nokia didn't own, followed by making the Symbian operating system open source.