Robert Scoble has written a couple of posts recently about Microsoft products being a platform:
1. Robert quoting Kevin Warbach: "The Internet companies that have thrived while AOL faltered -- Microsoft, Amazon.com, eBay, Google -- have two things in commons. They are deeply technology-driven, but they see technology not as an end in itself but as a platform."
And a day later...
2. "Well, the Web is what the Web is. I can see tons of places that Amazon could be tons better, if the platform underneath was better. But, yeah, the Web is awesome. So was the Model T, in its time."
The implication clearly is that the Web is past its prime and should be sent to the glue factory like a spent racehorse. To which I reply, well maybe the Web has some deficiencies as a platform for 2003-era Internet applications. But the Web still has one thing going for it which beats everything - it's FREE. Yes the World Wide Web is FREE, as in both speech and beer. That's gotta count for something, right?
Robert responds: "It certainly does! The Model T was the first affordable car, too. But, can we move beyond that?"
Sure but can't we build on the platform we already have - the Web - rather than create new ones? No one company - not Microsoft, not Google - owns the Web. The Web is decentralized and it operates on a few basic open standards - URI's, HTTP and HTML. The Web is more like a road than a car. Not that I want to resurrect the "Information Superhighway" metaphor from the 90's! But my point is the Web is the de-facto platform, built on a few universal protocols. Let's build on what is already free and usable.
Right, I'll get off my soapbox now...