Friday, November 11, 2005

 

Winning WebWar 2.0

Remember the distinction between "old economy" and "new economy" in the late 1990s? Amazon was the posterchild and Bezos was Time Magazine's Person of the Year (1999). AOL bought Time Warner and every company was going on-line (with .com added to their names). We tracked eyeballs as a way to monetize the worth of websites and did not care much for the price-earnings ratio. NASDAQ reached 5000 and we never questioned the sustainability of such a number!

That was web 1.0.

Now, there's a new distinction: web 1.0 and web 2.0.

Just like old and new economy companies, there are no good definitions to distinguish clearly between web 1.0 and web 2.0. But, the players jockeying in the new space are trying to craft new sources of value through services. If you want to see some latest ideas, follow the links below:

http://www.whatsweb20.com/
http://www.web2con.com/
http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/edge_perspectives/2005/09/what_is_web_20.html

It's about blogging; it includes social tagging; it embraces open source and democratization of the web; it is about software-enabled services; it's about mash-ups through APIs; it's about personalization; it's about globalization and the world becoming flat; it's about media and entertainment; it's about mobile devices. And Yes, it is about the next generation of value creation and capture.

John Hagel's working definition is a worthy staring point: “an emerging network-centric platform to support distributed, collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.”

I alos like John's point about thinking about the impact of Web 2.0 on software companies and on business enterprises that are not in the software industry--like retailing, publishing, media, financial services, automotive and so on.

It's too early to say who'll win (remember all the doctcom predictions?). The Web 2.0 war is multi-faceted.

The leader-pack seems to be:

Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
eBay
Amazon
Apple

But there are many other startups that are striving to join the leaderpack. Who would you add to the list as companies to watch as potential winner in Web 2.0 in the software sector and in other industries that are faced with the challenges of developing their business models on the web.

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