Web 2.0 ASPs - The Emperor's New, New Clothes
New User Experience! Yes, AJAX lets you build a more responsive UI than DHTML. Flash and Java have also enabled flexible UIs for some years.
New Revenue Stream! Internet advertising is booming, no doubt. Google spends some $2 billion annually to place ads on other sites. But will you hand your customer's private, 'secure' content to Google for keyword scans? Will users click through often enough when they're trying to get work done?
New Bold Approach! Can the reinvention of Word, Excel, and Outlook really be regarded as innovation? Hasn't Linux made it clear that a cheaper, more manageable desktop replacement just isn't that intriguing?
New Market Leaders! Well, two, anyway: salesforce.com and WebEx. Together they account for 40% of the SaaS market. WebEx could also be regarded as a network service, whose software belongs in the cloud. Salesforce has profited from the spectacular flame-out at Siebel.
New Exit Strategy! Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft are expected to fill the role of the dot-conned Nasdaq, buying everyone in sight at high multiples of founder fervor.
So much for what's new. It appears to me that most of the Web 2.0 ASP proposition lies is in what's old—those virtues that Web 1.0 ASP hyped to no avail...
No software to install or upgrade. Great, but the era of manual PC software maintenance is passing. Local-code-on-demand isn't exclusive to browser-based apps.
Simple, effective web UI. There's no question that this is a huge benefit. Multi-format pages interlinked to form sites, viewable by multiple users, is a great way to organize and present content. In fact it's too valuable to remain an online-only mechanism much longer.
Accessible via any browser, anywhere. Anywhere the net connection is reliable, that is. What if you could put the web server in your pocket? Would you prefer its service to a network one? Is there any reason besides the previous two that this app should be online? If not, then Web 2.0 ASPs will be just as popular as their Web 1.0 forebears.
We might as well call this ASP 1.1