The Network becomes the Computer...It's an idea that I have never really been able to express in such a simplistic and elegant way as what was achieved by the technical writer(s) of the Glassfish Open Message Queue Release 5.0 Technical Overview guide:
The easiest way to integrate heterogeneous components is not to recreate them as homogeneous elements but to provide a layer that allows them to communicate despite their differences. This layer, called middleware, allows software components (applications, enterprise java beans, servlets, and other components) that have been developed independently and that run on different networked platforms to interact with one another. It is when this interaction is possible that the network can become the computer.
The idea that the network and application services becomes the equivalent of the processors integrated circuit and processing units. Continuing this abstraction to it's epoch, the internet, the power of Service Orientated Design becomes self evident.
Reference: Message Queue Technical Overview