Mobile // Mobile Applications
02:28 PM
Connect Directly
Repost This

Web 2.0 Expo: O'Reilly Warns Of Web War

Internet visionary fears an end to openness as Internet rivals consolidate power.

The Web, which began life as an open community where information and tools were freely shared across geographic, political, and social boundaries, is in danger of becoming segmented into a federation of closed camps led by a handful of increasingly powerful vendors, said Internet pundit Tim O'Reilly.

"We're heading back into an ugly time," said O'Reilly, during a keynote address Tuesday at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York City.

O'Reilly said efforts by Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and other tech vendors—as well as publishers like Rupert Murdoch's Dow Jones—to create closed communities around their products and services are jeopardizing the freedom, and the spirit, of the Web.

"It's no longer about the Internet as a platform," said O'Reilly. "It's Google as a platform, it's Amazon as a platform, it's Microsoft as a platform," he said before a packed room at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

O'Reilly pointed to Murdoch's intention to create pay walls around Dow Jones newspaper sites, to Apple's mandatory vetting of all third-party iPhone applications, and to a recent Google announcement in which the search giant said it would release a free turn-by-turn navigation system—but only for use on phones powered by its Android operating system.

"That's not the way the Web works," said O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media and the first to coin the term Web 2.0, a concept where the Web is, in effect, the operating system for the Internet. And that OS, O'Reilly said, should be made up of "small pieces, loosely joined."

Instead, vendors are attempting to create "one ring to rule them all," said O'Reilly, referring to the one ring that would supposedly give the wearer ultimate power in Lord Of The Rings.

To counter the trend, O'Reilly said vendors like Google and others "must be rigorous in thinking through the benefit to the user" when it comes to developing new products, instead of focusing on how the product will enhance their competitive position.

"Do what you do best, link to the rest," said O'Reilly, citing an oft-quoted Web 2.0 maxim.

Register for Interop New York and see the full range of IT solutions to position your organization for growth. At the Jacob Javits Center, Nov. 16-20, 2009. Find out more and register.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.