I heard Dirk Hohndel talk at LCA 2008 on how chip manufacturers can engage with the open source community. I would have loved to have been there for this talk - it's really inspiring to see this kind of good message coming from a source that the vendor community will respect and trust.
I agree with his point about the cost being the wrong reason, but I still think it is an important factor. For vendors, it is very easy to work the cost equations if the cost of the operating system is free - no up-front license fee, no per-device fee, no locked-in contract. As the options open up and people get the choice to get an operating system for free or one that they have to pay extra for, this also raises the profile of Linux and FOSS. Yes, you still have to pay people to work on it, possibly in your own company, but as Dirk says (and Chris DiBona said at OSDC 2008) the power of being able to modify the source code is worth every cent. So while beer-free isn't as important as freedom-free, it is still in my opinion a factor.