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Saturday, December 14, 2002


Charles Cooper writes on the platform wars and Web Services.  The article richly describes previous platform battles, but draws distinction for the one we are in the middle of...

..."Any time there is an area of technology that attracts attention so that the biggest players are trying to stake out their position early, it generally means we're about to see a lot of time, a lot of mind share and a lot of money spent developing all the supporting infrastructure," says VeriSign CEO, Stratton Sclavos.

...But the struggle to define the future of this technology is going to be a lot different from prior platform wars. That's because the industry has already reached general agreement on standards, such as SOAP and the accompanying security standards.

I'm not ready to pull a Francis Fukuyama and declare the end of (computer) history--there are just too many prima donnas inhabiting the industry. Unless there's a big surprise out there, though, this is going to be more a question of building the best integrated platform with the best toolset than inventing the coolest way to do an XML message.

Sclavos believes Web services has reached the point where it is in need of technology integration, not more technology innovation. He just may be right.

Cooper is right to point out how early definition of open standards provides a different competitive playing field for the larger players.  These companies will seek to own the larger development environment and platform opportunities.

But as we learned at Supernova, centralized standards decentralize architectures.  Some view this as a democratizing force that enables smaller companies to play a role as arms merchants for the edge.  And this, in turn, sparks specialized innovation.  Large companies will sieze larger opportunities to provide tools to develop applications and services for small companies, but the bulk of the market will be these small companies.

In other words, decentralized technologies create atomized industry structures

2:13:58 PM    comment []

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