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Stefano Picker

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Don’t touch the Web!

August 24, 2010 Technology apps, business model, chris anderson, cloud

What happens when the marginal cost of serving online customers turns out to be almost zero? Chris Anderson’s Free offers a complete and clever answer to that question, written with the same compelling style of The Long Tail.

It shows how the Web has enabled a brand-new class of business models, and thus become such a Wonder Land of free, high-quality applications and services.

I really loved reading the book. And I got positively impressed even by a speech Anderson recently delivered in Milan, about the disruptive effect of the Internet over so many brick-and-mortar businesses.

So what the hell crossed his mind when he recently wrote and published an article titled The Web is Dead?…

Ok: he wanted to remark the rising power of the Apps, which is undoubtedly a fact. Granted: as editor in chief at Wired, he needs to push the magazine sales even by purposely triggering some buzz and squabble.

But I believe that statement is far too much.

A lot of reasons have already been pointed out by critics across the Web.

In a nutshell, my own can be described as follows:

– yes, the Apps are a big success for their ability to drive dedicated experiences, ideal for handling specific tasks… so no wonder that many companies and organizations are betting on them to attract customers into their own walled gardens, out of the Web…

– but the Web is alive and in very good shape indeed, because it gives its best just where the Apps struggle: universal compatibility. Today I can handle most of my online activities on nearly every devices… regardless of their operating system (and even by borrowing someone else’s laptop for a few minutes or getting in a cyber cafe)… AS LONG AS THEY HAVE A WEB BROWSER.

One Comment on “Don’t touch the Web!

Ralph
November 23, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Tim Berners Lee, founder of the world wide web, joins the group. His great article is here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=long-live-the-web
The tendency for magazines to produce smartphone apps rather than Web apps is disturbing, because that material is off the Web. You can’t bookmark it or e-mail a link to a page within it. You can’t tweet it. It is better to build a Web app that will also run on smartphone browsers, and the techniques for doing so are getting better all the time.

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