Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Open Sources, Open Standards
Author: Dennis Peterson Posted: 10/20/1999; 8:08:20 PM Topic: Open Sources, Open Standards Msg #: 12212 Prev/Next: 12211 / 12213
Profound article. Hits on the reason why VC's aren't putting so much money in software these days: "We're facing a power shift in the computer industry from software to web-based infoware that is as significant as the shift from hardware to software back in the early 80's. "
Tim says that software is becoming a standardized commodity like hardware is now. Just as IBM made the hardware open, open-source makes the software open. But with that layer built and standardized, a new layer (web applications) opens and brings an opportunity to customize and lock in customers. As Tim says, Amazon has a commanding presence, and to some extent they could define a standard interface to online bookstores...but they don't want to. They want people browsing their site directly, not interfacing to it and other sites with software that compares prices.
A better example might be, say, one of those "rent an intranet" services, office automation on the web. Software on the web that you use for its own sake, not as an interface to a store. Or look at sites that handle medical transactions. If one such site gets a large presence, other sites that handle the same or related transactions will likely be forced to integrate with it. If the big site isn't interested in publicizing a clean interface and keeping it consistent, they can lock in their market, so people are forced to use their service and not someone else's...until this layer gets opened and standardized as well.
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