Web Meeting Service Startup Takes On Cisco, Microsoft

November 21, 2007

Dimdim, a startup made up of entrepreneurs and technologists, on Monday launched a free Web meeting service that’s meant to compete with Cisco Systems’ WebEx and Microsoft’s PlaceWare. The service, also called Dimdim, will be showcased at this week’s DEMOfall 07 conference where new products, technologies, and companies make their debut. The free service is offered as a private beta for now, but will be widely available on registration basis in two to three months.

Dimdim is browser-based and doesn’t require any software to be installed, which makes it easy to use, said DD Ganguly, the company’s CEO and co-founder, in an interview. “A customer once told us: ‘This is just like visiting a web site.’ Anyone who can use a browser irrespective of technical ability can use Dimdim,” Ganguly said.

Dimdim uses a rich Internet application with advanced collaboration features. The service allows people to share their desktop files, show slides, and chat using a webcam. Cisco and Microsoft offer similar capabilities as part of their Web meeting services. Cisco acquired Web conferencing company WebEx earlier this year, with plans to integrate its own voice and video products into the WebEx offering.

CEO Ganguly said what makes Dimdim unique is its open source foundation. “We’re about democratizing collaboration,” Ganguly said.

The service integrates open source components, such as the Google Web toolkit for Ajax applications, the Red5 open source Flash server, and the Tomcat application server, with Dimdim’s open source software.

Additionally, it works on computers that run different operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.

There are three versions of Dimdim available: a free browser-based version, open source server-side software that can be downloaded from Sourceforge.net, and an enterprise version that can be purchased for a fee by small and medium-sized businesses.

The enterprise version is customizable and scalable. For example, it allows hundreds of participants to be on a Web conference at the same time, whereas the free version doesn’t. Dimdim also offers 24/7 support for the enterprise version.

Schools and universities can integrate Dimdim’s server-side software with e-learning apps, while companies can integrate it with customer-relationship management (CRM) apps for a better collaboration experience, said Ganguly.

Dimdim is supported by venture funding from firms that also have invested in Skype, Hotmail, and MySQL. The investors include Draper Richards, Index Ventures, and Nexus India Capital.

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Will Google’s OpenSocial API Program Kill Ning?

November 2, 2007

By Stephen Wellman,

Google this week stormed into the social networking world and stole Facebook’s thunder with its new OpenSocial API program, an effort to create an open standard for creating and integrating applications into social networking platforms. While the rest of the blogosphere is pondering Facebook’s fate, I want to ask another question: Does OpenSocial spell the death of Ning?

For those of you who don’t know, Ning is startup that offers a platform designed to let users create and manage their own social networks. Ning has been around since 2004 and it has a list of big Silicon Valley boosters and investors, including Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame.

Ning is targeted at both consumers and businesses.Ning is trumpeting the OpenSocial platform and its participation in it. Ning’s leadership thinks that OpenSocial will allow Ning to explode (in a good way).

I am not as convinced that OpenSocial will be so good for Ning — or other social networking upstarts either. But for the sake of this post, I will focus on Ning.

Ning’s real value prop to date has been its ability to let users build fully custom, white-label social networks. While competitors like Facebook are aggregations of social networks (not just one social network), Ning’s advantage has been its ability to offer more user customization. Lots of different networks using the same platform behind the scenes vs. bunches of networks on the same interface.

Now, with the addition of Google’s OpenSocial APIs, Ning will offer the same kind of functionality as the rest of its rivals, including Facebook’s arch-nemesis MySpace. So if the entire social networking universe will soon offer integrated application functionality using the same standard (assuming Facebook signs on, which I think it will) what does Ning bring to the party?

Hear me out on this. I see how OpenSocial benefits MySpace. And I can see how Facebook might benefit from this too, despite all the naysayers who claim this move could kill Facebook. But, how does Ning really benefit from this?

As I see it, OpenSocial potentially gives Facebook and MySpace the ability to beat Ning at its own game. Assuming Facebook and MySpace integrate OpenSocial and these APIs give users the ability to create and integrate new kinds of applications and functionalities, why not give users the ability to create their own standalone networks in these respective platforms? Why not launch custom networks on both of these platforms and skip Ning all together?

As I see it, all Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, etc. have to do is add an additional level of interface customization and they can easily take Ning’s market right out from under it. Why use Ning when you could build a professional network for a large company on Facebook or a custom network for a movie or TV show on MySpace?

What do you think? Will OpenSocial spell the end of Ning?

Source:


Silicon Valley Crash Course: 14 Startups

November 2, 2007

by John Foley

Dream Factory makes rich Internet apps for project management, presentations, document sharing, and other types of collaboration.

Ribbit develops software that integrates cell calls with Web-based Salesforce apps. It lets you, for example, attach a voice message from a sales prospect to a Salesforce “task” and store it for later playback.

Right90 provides a sales forecasting tool for manufacturing companies. The company, which had three customers a year ago, now has 17 (including electronics giant Sharp) since plugging into AppExchange.

StakeWare has an app that lets companies track their “social responsibility.” A dashboard provides views of company performance in areas such as the environment and human rights.

Vertical Response enables e-mail marketing campaigns using your Salesforce contact list. Because such e-mail blasts tend to be smaller and between known parties, more messages get opened (“open” rates can be as high as 30%) and fewer get blocked as spam.

Aggregate Knowledge, whose discovery software makes content or product recommendations to Web site visitors based on what like-minded people have done.

Agistix, a hosted logistics application that helps companies keep track of packages and freight through various channels.

Gydget, which provides a widget-building platform for entertainment companies and sports franchises, with potential application in other industries.

Mino Wireless, which cuts costs for BlackBerry users who place overseas calls by routing calls over VoIP and providing centralized administration for groups of users. (Mino won InformationWeek‘s first-ever startup competition in September.)

Rebit, maker of a foolproof PC backup appliance that works by simply plugging into a USB port. (Not to be confused with Ribbit, the Salesforce incubator company, both of which have a green frog as their logo.)

Ruckus Wireless, whose 802.11 access points extend wireless signals greater distances and around obstacles.

Stratavia, a developer of data center automation software.

Untangle, which offers no-cost network access and spam filtering software based on open source.

Source:


Is The Web Headed For Meltdown 2.0?

November 1, 2007

by Stephen Wellman

In recent months I’ve seen a lot of anxiety in the tech marketplace. Bloggers, pundits, and industry insiders all seem to suggest that Web 2.0 is headed for Correction 2.0. Are we in the middle of another bubble?

The bubble talk started in 2005 when eBay agreed to acquire Skype. Since then, we’ve learned that Skype hasn’t earned its high price tag, with co-founder Niklas Zennstrom even admitting as much.

In recent weeks GPS firm Navteq sold for an impressive $8.1 billion to Nokia while Google’s stock price continues to climb. And to top it all off, last week Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook in a deal that supposedly gives the golden child of Web 2.0 a market value of $15 billion.

Web skeptics point to these trends and, channeling Susan Powter, scream: Stop the insanity!

During the fallout from the dot-com era, there was a lot of finger pointing and loads of general animosity directed at the Internet. But during the down years that followed, the Web exploded while the skeptics entrenched in their old-line companies watched from the sidelines. Google grew up during a down market. Key Web trends, like blogging, also exploded during the downturn.

I had firsthand experience with this. I worked at a Web startup during the downturn. When I would reveal this fact at the time, people would look at me with equal parts scorn and pity. I once had someone blame me for the stock market crash because I worked at an e-tailer during the late 1990s.

What I find odd about this Web skepticism is that it points a lot of derision at the Web. Other industries that have downturns don’t attract this much animosity. I don’t see any financial analysts out there pointing fingers at real estate agents or condo builders for the current meltdown in the U.S. real estate market.

Let’s look at the ghost in the room. Everyone is scared that the Web will repeat the mistakes of the dot-com era. Well, how about all those dot-coms that flamed out seven years ago? For all the Pets.com buzzards of yesteryear, there are plenty of dot-com era companies still charging on. Web giants such as Amazon.com and eBay have proven themselves as viable, profitable global businesses. And even though Yahoo lost to Google, it’s still around and it’s still a going concern.

A few business analysts last year pointed out that the survival rate of dot-com era companies was “on par or higher than other emerging industries” and that there may have been far too few dot-com startups, contrary to the conventional wisdom that emerged at the time of the collapse.

If you factor in that the dot-com era produced a large number of viable businesses in an era where many of these companies ran on little to no profit — if not outright losses — for years, today’s crop of Web 2.0 startups looks even stronger. Even Facebook, a site that earns special scorn from Web skeptics, is profitable. Yahoo at the same time period in the dot-com explosion didn’t look as strong financially as many of the bright, shining stars of Web 2.0.

Simply put, I just don’t think that the current class of Web startups looks anywhere near as dangerous as those from the late 1990s. And given that startups today are smaller, leaner, and actually profitable, they may do even better than their parents’ generation. And if the parents did well (much better in hindsight than most thought in 2000-2001), how much success could these Web 2.0 kids achieve?

Now, does this mean that I think Facebook is really worth $15 billion right now? Not necessarily. Does this mean that I don’t think there will be another Web downturn? Not at all. That which goes up must come down. That’s just capitalism. If you don’t like the risk, then don’t play for the rewards.

What do you think? Is Web 2.0 headed for a huge crash? Or is the Web only heating up?

Source:


Survey Favors Dogpile’s Metasearch Approach

October 31, 2007

By W. David Gardner

Dogpile.com, the metasearch engine that combines many different search engines, has been deemed highest in customer satisfaction among search engines, according to a new survey of users.

The company, which announced the results Tuesday, said it had scored highest in the second year in a row in the J. D. Power and Associates Residential Online Service Customer Satisfaction Study. Dogpile crowed that it also extended its lead over Google — its nearest competitor. The study examined ease of use, functionality and results.

“With the vast amounts of information available on the Web today, it’s not surprising that different search engines return different results,” said Jim Voelker, CEO for InfoSpace, which owns Dogpile.

Google typically comes out on top of search engine rankings when it comes to sheer numbers of queries. For instance, Comshare reported rankings in July that placed Google in the lead with 6.6 billion searches to 2.5 billion for Yahoo, 1.3 billion for Microsoft, 959 million for AOL Time Warner and 587 million for Fox Interactive Media. But a customer satisfaction is also an important distinguishing trait.

“This top ranking is a validation of the benefits of metasearch, and shows that one search engine is not necessarily enough,” Voelker said.

While there are different ways of defining and tracking metasearch, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have shied away from recommending any metasearchers in their workshops and suggest that searchers use different search engines on their own. The Cal researchers note that users can craft their own metasearch engine; Google’s Custom Search Engines (CSEs) offering allows users to search Web pages, for instance.

Dogpile also cast aspersions on the results of top search engines, citing a study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and Queensland University of Technology. The study, according to Dogpile, found that the first page results on Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft’s search engine overlap less than 1%. Dogpile said the results reinforce the value of Dogpile, which it returns the top results from those search engines.

Souce: Information Week


Growing Pains: Can Web 2.0 Evolve Into An Enterprise Technology?

October 30, 2007

By Andy Dornan

Forget outsourcing. the real threat to IT pros could be Web 2.0. While there’s a lot of hype and hubris surrounding wikis, mashups, and social networking, there’s also a lot of real innovation–much of it coming from increasingly tech-savvy business users, not the IT department.

“We’ve cut IT staff by 20%, and we’re providing a whole lot more in terms of IT services,” says Ken Harris, CIO at nutritional products manufacturer Shaklee. Harris started with a mashup platform from StrikeIron; he found mashups such an effective way to integrate multiple Web services that he turned to Web-based service providers to replace in-house functions. Now, Shaklee gets its ERP from Workday and search from Visual Sciences, and it’s looking at other IT functions that software as a service can replace.

And Web 2.0 means more than just SaaS. Though the term is often abused, all the various technologies, products, and sites grouped together as “Web 2.0” do have one thing in common: interactivity. Web 2.0 is designed for two-way communication. At the technical level, it replaces static HTML with (usually) JavaScript apps that continually send and receive small chunks of XML or text. At the social level, it means Web sites that let people communicate, not just read or shop. Instead of passive consumers, Web surfers can become active creators.

All that interactivity ought to make Web 2.0 ideally suited for business use. Most workplaces are about production, not consumption. However, enterprises lag far behind consumers in adoption of Web 2.0 technologies. What’s more, our online poll shows that interest in technologies such as blogs, wikis, and mashups has gone down during 2007, despite explosive growth outside the firewall.

Part of the reason is that business users already have access to more sophisticated versions of the same technologies. Blogging is publishing, a wiki is a CMS (content management system), and Ajax is a more standardized way of achieving what many internal enterprise apps already do with ActiveX or Java. Now, that doesn’t mean new technologies can be ignored–their lower costs and simpler administration mean they will quickly overtake legacy platforms, and already have done so in some areas. But it does mean they need to fit in with their predecessors.

WIKI WISH LIST
“It’s awful having an artificial distinction between a wiki and a CMS,” says Aaron Hathaway, CIO at investment bank Prager, Sealy & Co. In common with most of the users in our poll, he sees wikis as having greater use within enterprises than other Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs. Wikis’ other big attraction is that, in keeping with their collaborative nature, almost all of them are free.

Hathaway started using wikis four years ago to manage the IT department’s internal documentation, but soon saw that the technology could be more widely applicable. In 2005, he decided to roll out TWiki, a popular enterprise wiki whose other users include Yahoo and British Telecom.

It was a decision Hathaway came to regret in fairly short order.

... In With The New: Are these tools very important or critical to your organization?

The problem was that TWiki couldn’t easily share data with Alfresco, the bank’s open source CMS. Users who needed information had to look in both, while those adding documents risked duplicating effort. The bank didn’t want to give up on either, so Hathaway turned instead to Deki Wiki, which is also open source but backed by a commercial vendor, MindTouch. Deki’s Web services API eases integration with other applications. “It means a Google map can show up on a Deki page, and we’re building an über-search,” he says. “In my ideal setup, Deki would be a front end to Alfresco.” The API also lets the wiki use the bank’s existing security architecture to limit user access to specific pages, important for preserving the wall between analysis and sales. According to Hathaway, the wiki is now providing a real return on investment.

A wiki is easier to use than a full CMS, but on its own it can’t yet provide some CMS functionality, such as working with documents and files. This has led several wikis to add extension capabilities, such as Deki Wiki’s API. TWiki also has a plug-in system that lets programmers extend it without editing source code; more than 200 modules are already available to cover applications such as calendaring and automated editing. The most ambitious is IBM’s QEDWiki, which aims to be a platform for user-created mashups and other simple applications, rather than just content. The mashup aspect empowers users even more than the “edit” button and also helps integrate the wiki with IBM’s other applications.

Still, companies like Prager, Sealy can’t abandon their content management systems just yet, and the most popular collaboration platform remains Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint also is at the center of Microsoft’s online Office Live strategy, best described as “software plus service.” Rather than a Google-style suite of online apps that would compete with its own products, Microsoft sells SharePoint and Outlook as services, with a subset of the full functionality soon to be available at no cost. Users still need a client-side application to edit documents, theoretically giving them the best of both worlds–and preserving Microsoft’s Office revenue stream.

A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE NETWORK?
Of all Web 2.0 technologies, social networking is the one that gets vendors and venture capitalists most excited. At least 17 startups are pitching social networking technology to business customers (see table, Social Networking Technology Startups), while countless social networking Web sites are chasing individual users. But it’s also the one about which our readers are most skeptical: When asked to rate the value of technologies, 68% say that public social networking sites are of no use at all. Only 5% rate any kind of social networking as very useful.

Still, one type of company finds these public sites very exciting: recruiters.

“We have great expectations for Facebook,” says Jason Blessing, general manager of the small and midsize business division at recruitment service provider Taleo. “The thing we really like is that it has a heritage from the top universities, and it’s a place where the Gen Y’s or millennials like to hang out.” His company rolled out a Web service that its SMB customers use to advertise jobs through Facebook’s API, letting users recommend their friends (or friends of friends of friends) for specific positions.

Rather than joining the big social networking sites, many enterprises are trying to compete with them. Though few respondents to our poll have yet added social networking to their Web sites, many of the startups pitching the technology have scored big-name customers. The media industry is particularly well-represented among clients of companies like KickApps and Leverage Software, with newspapers and TV stations trying to find a way to keep their audiences interested. The panic is driven by surveys showing that people under 24 prefer user-generated content and connections with others over traditional media.

Other enterprises can benefit from setting up social networks as a means to communicate with customers–and let customers communicate with one another. The big question for enterprises: Do we buy dedicated social networking technology or wait until it becomes a standard feature of Web servers and hosting services?

THE SEARCH FOR A BUSINESS CASE
As the table below shows, startups differ widely in how they sell their technology, or in some cases, give it away. The majority have SaaS business models, but some sell software or appliances. Free services can seem attractive, but in most cases vendors retain ownership of users’ data, something that could threaten both trade secrets and customer privacy. This is a particular risk given the likely fate of at least some startups–privacy policies and contractual obligations don’t always survive bankruptcy and liquidation. Though they all try to sell to enterprises, some vendors such as Pringo Networks and Kick Apps are finding that their largest market is niche sites, where social networking is an end in itself. These sites are essentially in the media business, with business models based on selling ads. They’re betting that users will ultimately be more loyal to sites narrowly focused on an industry, sports team, or hobby than a giant network that anyone can join. The relatively few vendors focused on social networking for use within an enterprise intranet, such as Awareness Networks and Tacit, often provide these features as part of a larger Web 2.0 suite that includes blogs and wikis.

When database vendor Endeca wanted to roll out a social networking site aimed at customers and system integrators, it rejected off-the-shelf software in favor of a homegrown system. Though enthusiastic about social networking for customers, Endeca isn’t convinced it has a role to play internally. “We’re still holding off on what the ROI is for our own employees,” says Colby Dyeff, Endeca’s IT manager. “It’s hard to say if that’s a valuable use of their time.”

Many of Endeca’s contributors are system integrators selling their expertise, giving them a direct financial incentive to be highly rated. But the same lessons can apply to social networks elsewhere, where rating content is also a way to help people find others with similar interests or locate related information. The former isn’t of much use within an enterprise, but the latter could be, especially given the poor state of enterprise search compared with the big Internet search engines.

This kind of tagging isn’t strictly social networking, so it’s usually described as social bookmarking, based more on Del.icio.us than MySpace. It’s a big part of Connectbeam’s social networking appliance, as well as new Web 2.0 platforms from IBM and BEA Systems. IBM’s system is called Dogear, part of its larger Lotus Connections suite that also includes blogs, wikis, and shared workspaces. BEA’s entry, AquaLogic Pathways, is sold alongside its Pages and Ensemble mashup tools. Both products are relatively new, as is the concept of enterprise social bookmarking itself.

Relatively few vendors are pushing full-scale social networking for intranets. Of those that are, Visible Path is the most ambitious. Its service tries to span the extranet as well as intranet, linking staff to contacts within other organizations as well as their own. Its pitch is heavily oriented toward sales staffers, who can use social networking as a way to reach prospects, as is its own go-to-market strategy: Rather than sell directly to enterprises, it prefers to go through partners like Oracle and Salesforce.com, whose CRM systems its social networking is integrated with. Most people won’t join a social network just so that salespeople can contact them, of course, so Visible Path emphasizes its security and privacy controls at both the individual and corporate levels. Users can decide what sort of introductions they want to receive, while companies can override employee choices. That might seem to make Visible Path impractical as a sales tool, since blocking unsolicited sales pitches is a no-brainer. According to its users, however, this isn’t necessarily the case.

“People don’t have to be users to be accessed through it,” says Rod Morris, VP of business information solutions at LexisNexis. Morris uses the tool to promote his company’s ExecRelate service, which tracks relationships between C-level executives and board members in publicly traded companies–people who are more likely to rely on the old-boy network than LinkedIn or Twitter.

FREE FOR THE TAKING
Still, vendors will have to show hard ROI before these technologies will be adopted by enterprises, and that could be difficult with so many free alternatives. The long-term evolution of Web 2.0 in business is likely to trace a path similar to that of instant messaging, which has comparable social characteristics to wikis, blogs, and social networks, and initially followed a parallel adoption curve in business. IM was brought in by people who used it in their personal lives, and though many people resisted it at first, IM quickly became an enterprise staple: Three-quarters of all organizations in our survey use it; half say they find it very useful or critical to their business.

IM Technology In Use

So far, so much like any other technology. Home users are driving innovation, so it’s no surprise to see the enterprise lagging. But unlike the PC a generation ago, IM has managed to colonize the workplace without going native. Despite frequent warnings from security vendors that unrestrained use of consumer IM technology can violate privacy policies, give attackers a back door into the network, and even send executives to jail, most companies happily use the same free services as teenagers. Fewer than 30% of respondents in our online poll have enterprise IM servers such as Lotus SameTime. Actual use is likely a lot lower, as staff in many companies ignore the officially sanctioned software and install their own. The move to enterprise voice over IP is bringing other players like Cisco Systems into the IM game, attempting to converge IM’s presence features with telephony, but they could be too late. The public IM services are already integrated into cell phones, another technology frequently used in the workplace but not controlled by IT.

IT’S LOOSENING GRIP
Loss of IT control is a consistent theme as Web 2.0 penetrates business. The greatest upheaval is likely to come from enterprise mashups, which combine the social and technical aspects of Web 2.0 by letting users develop their own applications. Though very few businesses use mashups at present, those that are see great benefits, and larger players such as BEA, IBM, and Oracle are entering the game. Cutting out the middleman–that’s the IT department–can be a great way of aligning business and technology.

“Mashups have let end users do more of what used to be done by IT,” says Warren Breakstone, executive VP in charge of client services at investment tools provider Thomson Financial. Although not in the IT department, Breakstone started using a hosted mashup service from Serena Software and now runs a team of business analysts who develop Web-based applications for sales, marketing, and other personnel. “Now we’re moving into traditional IT services: The IT department is using apps that we built.”

Breakstone says this doesn’t bring his team into conflict with the IT department. “It frees IT up to do those mission-critical tasks behind the scenes,” he says.

IM itself is already giving way to newer technologies that are even further outside IT’s control. The leading candidate so far is Second Life. Though often seen (and increasingly scoffed at) as a marketing vehicle, its true potential is as a glorified chat room. Like IM, it’s free, but it gives users a more immersive experience and is designed for multiparty conversations.

“We found that Second Life allows more user engagement than traditional video or phone conferencing,” says Breakstone, who is testing Second Life as an environment for meetings. “One employee told me, ‘I’ve participated in lots of meetings and I tend to be very quiet, but I felt very comfortable opening up in Second Life.'”

Source:


Even With Web 2.0, Businesses Are Stuck at Enterprise 1.5

October 25, 2007

By David Weinberger

As you’ve probably heard, the Web progressed to version 2.0 a couple of years ago. It’s about time, too, especially since for many of us, our maintenance contracts with the Web were about to run out, and we didn’t want to have to pay for the upgrade to the new version. Fortunately, the new release of the Web went smoothly. We downloaded the new software, followed the upgrade instructions (did you remember to download the new drivers first?), and were up and running with our brand new Web version within days.

The only problem is that, while the Web may have progressed to 2.0, businesses are stuck at 1.5, at best. As they try to grab hold of the bubble, businesses are finding they’re weighted down. Not by extraneous baggage they could jettison, but by core principles of organization and operation.

Take an easy part of Web 2.0: User participation via blogging. For now, we’ll ignore that the Web has been about user participation from its very beginning. There’s no question that blogging has made it easier than ever for people to join the global conversation. There’s obviously no technical reason why a corporation couldn’t start up its own blogs, and many have. But so often corporate blogs are the worst sort of marketing: marketing pretending that it isn’t marketing.

If you wanted to build an environment in which blogging would be tempted to betray its values, you’d build a modern corporation. Marketing has trained companies to speak in safe platitudes. Legal has warned companies not to let anyone speak without permission. Executives have let themselves believe that they got where they are because they’re oh so fascinating. It’s a miracle there are any good corporate blogs at all.

Or take mashups, the poster children of Web 2.0. Sure, companies may use other people’s data to enhance their own, and if a page isn’t busily rebuilding itself through the magic of AJAX, then it definitely hasn’t drunk the Web 2.0 juice. The real question is whether a company will let others use its data. We’ve told companies for a generation now that information is their second most important asset. But, in the 2.0 world, information is free to roam, mate, and produce unexpected offspring. Most companies aren’t ready to go that far, so they point to how they’ve mashed up their store locations with Google Maps, and declare Web 2.0 victory.

It’s not easy. I know a company that is about to do some deals to aggregate a particular class of information. I’m not allowed to give away details, so let’s pretend it’s information about auto repairs. (It’s not.) There are several coalitions proposing standards in this area, all aiming at openness. This company doesn’t want to play. They have an opportunity to become the dominate source for auto repair info, and they don’t want to give up their control over the standard they may be in a position to establish as the de facto winner.

I think it’s short-sighted of them for good business reasons. Because an open standard would encourage innovation and competition, the market will eventually (probably) push for it and thus push away from this company’s proprietary standard. I’ve lost this argument, though, because the company looks at the shorter-term future and sees lots of advantages. Immediate gain in the 1.5 world weighs quite heavily against long-term benefit in the 2.0 world.

The fact that companies are stalled at Enterprise 1.5 isn’t due to a simple failing, as if they’re just not as smart as the Web 2.0 hackers. Web 2.0 sharpens the challenge Web 1.0 posed to our traditional ways of doing business. The change is deep and real. We should expect business to lag, and some businesses to be left behind entirely.

Source: Information week