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Thursday, November 04, 2004Services will be the dominant model - Think of it as evolution in action. Several years ago it became clear , all things being equal, the current model of building software for a specific API to be deployed on someone's desk was going to be far less sucessful than the model of deploying a service. Things that breed rapidly more quickly adopt through natural selection to a changing environment. Services can typically deploy changes every month or even more rapidly because they only have one single configuration on a set of machines whose OS, storage and networking they totally control and which they manage in their data centers. These days Microsoft gives birth to new products at a pace that makes an elephant seem quick, about every 60 months, that means in the time that a service can make 60 adaptions to its customer's needs, Microsoft makes one. It used to be that they shipped every 12 months. Then 18. Then 24. And so on. The creep is driven by the ever increasiongly complexity of features, hardware, os variations, and backward compatibility of the API's so ably designed to lock developers in. They locked the developers in all right. The Microsoft ones. This alone to me has been a compelling argument that when a product can be delivered as a service, it should be.
Services not only evolve far more rapidly to meet customer needs, they are much cheaper to manage for most customers.The user interface customized itself to the users needs, location, and data in a dynamic way through the magic of dynamic page layout. Today, a full ten years later, most windows apps still don't do that. But heck they are only 2 or 3 or 4 generations evolved. Services, in the last decade, may have evolved 600 times by now all in reaction to what they have learned directly from customer use.
Is it right for everything to be a service? Certainly not. If you need offline access, if you're manipulating rich media (photoshop), if you need to search those files customers choose to keep privately on their PC's then client side code is required. Blog-Readers are the poster children for this especially now we have podcasting. But I have to say, I think Mozilla could easily build in such features into their awesome browser, Firefox. And keeping data on a PC is asking for trouble. It gets old. The machine is dropped. The disk breaks. Put it on a service and it is stored, reliably, even in the face of an earthquake these days. Most of the value today is coming from the community, the reputation, the access to information and goods and services, and the media itself. This ineluctable fact coupled with the driving forces of much faster evolution in response to the natural selection of market needs, much cheaper and easier and more simple user interface, and much better ability to know what can be done better for the customer are all combining. Services will be the dominant model. Think of it as evolution in action Fascinating argument and very insightful at that.
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