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November 30, 2009

The web is at war, threatening Web 2.0’s interoperability

It is now becoming apparent that Tim O’Reilly’s vision of the web being “One Ring to Rule Them All” and “Small Pieces Loosely Joined”, is coming apart at the seams as the big media company News Corp and Microsoft join hands to threaten Google and, in turn, Web 2.0 itself.

In “O’Reilly: The Web is at war, and it’s making me sad” (see, we have seen over the past few months that News Corp has stepped up the stakes in its battle to block Google from indexing content from Rupert Murdoch’s online media titles, and that now Microsoft is said to be willing to pay Time Warner and News Corporation, among others, to make these sources available exclusively through Bing, it’s new search engine.

During this time, and many articles later, Rupert Murdoch has criticised Google for “kleptomania” and has threatened to cut them off from all his online publications. That is not quite as easy as he thinks, though, as nearly a quarter of all traffic to the Wall Street Journal’s website, for example, comes via Google. Microsoft, for their part, is willing to spend up to 10% of its operating income over the next five years, which could add up to a sum somewhere around $US11bn. Tim O’Reilly, who coined the term Web 2.0, questions the war for the control of the web, which directly contradicts his “interoperable platform” concept.

Not all agree though, as the Economist argues that, “a handful of well-funded and powerful platforms, locked in heated competition, could be better for consumers and generate more innovation than Mr O’Reilly’s vision of an internet made of many ‘small pieces loosely joined’.”

The bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2001 was a turning point for the web and, with it, the concept of “Web 2.0” was born. Its web pioneer Tim O’Reilly warned an audience at a recent Web 2.0 Expo that he thinks “we’re headed into another ugly time”, meaning that the corporates are ganging up on Google’s dominance, with Rupert “Dr Evil” Murdoch leading the charge and threatening to pull News Corp’s content carpet from under Google’s feet.

In the same CNet article, it says that: “O’Reilly’s attitude isn’t ‘bring it on, and get me a large popcorn with extra butter, while you’re at it’. Rather, he hinted that at least in some cases, he’s willing to embrace Google as a big, cuddly, benevolent dictator in the midst of it all.” Rather like Stalin dressed up in a Winnie The Pooh fancy dress outfit, maybe?

But with all fancy dress parties there are reactionaries in the mix, as Barbarian Group executive Rick Webb announced: “Setting aside the boo hoo, the internet is becoming a bunch of walled gardens arguments, when rational people have conversations about how to make the web actually usable and not 95 percent piracy, spam, and fraud…”

All this aside, it is becoming clearer by the day that the web is heading into a full-frontal period of bloody competition that could kill the concept of the web’s interoperability as we know it today.

In, Mr O’Reilly clearly states that: “And so we’ve grown used to a world with one dominant search engine, one dominant online encyclopaedia, one dominant online retailer, one dominant auction site, one dominant online classified site, and we’ve been readying ourselves for one dominant social network…

“It could be that everyone will figure out how to play nicely with each other, and we’ll see a continuation of the interoperable web model we’ve enjoyed for the past two decades. But I’m betting that things are going to get ugly. We’re heading into a war for control of the web. And in the end, it’s more than that, it’s a war against the web as an interoperable platform. Instead, we’re facing the prospect of Facebook as the platform, Apple as the platform, Google as the platform, Amazon as the platform, where big companies slug it out until one is king of the hill.”

In a postscript, he predicts that: “Microsoft will emerge as a champion of the open web platform, supporting interoperable web services from many independent players, much as IBM emerged as the leading enterprise backer of Linux.”


John Sylvester is the media director of V9 Design & Build and an expert in search engine optimization and web marketing strategies.

6 Responses to “The web is at war, threatening Web 2.0’s interoperability

    avatar Elvenrunelord says:

    You can always tell when a company is getting ready to break into the big leagues by the number of cornerstone companies that are threatened by the newcomers business model come out to attack them.

    Old world media is threatened by Google and so is Microsoft since they decided to become a serious player in the online search market.

    When we break this down to it’s basic core we find that same old tired song is being played again…

    What many of these companies don’t realize is that few people care if they stay super rich anymore. We just don’t care. Many of us would like to see them start living in the real world with the rest of us humans again.

    What will ensure a truly open source web will be interoperable services and content and those who refuse to play nicely will eventually be left to play in their sandbox all by themselves.

    Microsoft and that slimy New Corp are betting on big money when no one really cares about big money anymore except for a few tired old men who are increasingly becoming irrelevant as more and more free or advertising supported services are coming online.

    They can either join us in the ocean we called the internet or stay in their backyard fish pond it is of no interest to me.

    I support companies that are willing to open up and allow everyone access to everything for little or no price whatsoever. The days of the super rich are over until we as a people get everyone to a standard of living anyone can look at and not be ashamed of the species.

    This will require a lot of work and the sacrifice of the super rich lifestyles and I don’t expect these people to go away without a fight. But as more people continue to refuse to do business with them within their current business models they will be forced to change.

    Under democratic government, all power lies in the hands of the people. Eventually business will come back to the earlier conclusion that the ‘ customer is always right ‘ and then add ‘ or their money stays in their pocket and we go bankrupt ‘ to the quote.

    Like it or not the world and its view is changing. You can come willing, be dragged along unwilling, or die. Either choice is fine with me but if you choose to die please don’t get in my way of living my life when you do it. Go off somewhere quiet and private and do it!

    avatar Chelle says:

    I despise monopolies of any kind, but I think Murdoch only despises monopolies that he doesn’t own.

    Now that the print media is on a downer – let’s find another source of revenue – and of course – Microsoft leaps to the party.

    One major problem I have with search engines paying or receiving money for indexing a site is that it’s going to impact negatively on smaller business and website owners. Who can really compete with the types of money News Corp can dish out.

    So they go from print monopoly to internet monopoly in the blink of an eye while we all still sit here adding our comments in forums 🙂

    It’s going to be interesting times indeed.

    avatar Ryland Bacorn says:

    I wouldn’t be too worried. You mention Rupert Murdoch threatening Google in the second paragraph. Murdoch reluctantly revoked his threats when he was advised by people WHO KNOW WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON! I am not worried about these “giant” moguls. There time has come and these dinosaurs will die.

    You can’t call this a war when the “search” team (including Google) doesn’t even flinch when media makes threats like Murdoch made.

    There is NO war. Besides, the Internet doesn’t need News Corp. All the old, racist bigots get their news from TV and that relic the newspaper.

    The web will continue to weave itself.

    avatar The web is at war, threatening Web 2.0’s interoperability | Did You Know ... says:

    […] Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & ResourcesThe web is at war, threatening Web 2.0’s interoperability […]

    Not quite true about Google not even flinching. Google, according to Mashable ( Caves to Murdoch, Adds New Options for Publishers

    avatar Social Communication vs intimacy says:

    […] Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & ResourcesThe web is at war, threatening Web 2.0’s interoperability […]

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