Home Attack of the Clones

Attack of the Clones

So the latest ruckus in tech.blogosphere is about Dave Winer’s call to Clone the Google API (note the URL name). Robert Scoble wrote an enthusiastic post entitled Yahoo’s new pretty maps are doomed (and so are Microsoftís), which understandably got up the nostrils of Yahoo!’s Jeremy Zawodny.

Microsoft’s Dare Obasanjo wrote a post that outlined why Microsoft shouldn’t just clone Google. He pointed out that MS and Y! APIs have different feature sets and don’t necessarily use the same technology (the Google API uses SOAP), unlimited API user rates don’t make business sense, and cloning shows a lack of innovation.

Like Frederico Oliveira, I’m all for competition for Google. But asking the likes of MS and Y! to clone Google isn’t the way to go.

I’m now a bit sorry I kicked off this latest obsession with the word “disruptive”. But in my world disruptive doesn’t mean to copy your competitors, it means to out-innovate.

In summary, like Dave Winer I too would love to see unlimited or 1 million queries per day on the big companies’ APIs. Wouldn’t we all? However the business case issue around that is important and not easy to gloss over – perhaps I’ll try and tackle that in a future post.

For now, let’s stop talking about cloning please 🙂

Update:Dave Winer points to a great comment by Dave Luebbert, a former development lead on Microsoft Word, in response to my comment over in Fred’s blog (which led to this post here by me). Dave Luebbert’s response is well worth reading – the crux of it is cloning is good for developers. I still don’t see how it’s good for MS or Y! to clone Google’s API, but I can now see how it may be good for developers and for users of the resulting web apps. I’d be interested in what Dare and Jeremy Z think – and other developers.

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