The web's new walls

In a groundbreaking move, The Economist has understood the logic of the Internet just as its demise is near. In its leader on 4 September 2010 they write this about the web's new walls:

It's open standards made such interconnections cheap and easy...but now...three sets of walls are being built...national firewalls...walled gardens by...Facebook, Google...and Apple...and network operators [favoring] those websites prepared to pay up

Well, in truth, there are threats to the Internet's openness, and the Internet is indeed built on open standards, but George W. Bush's idea of the "internets" back in 2004 is far from near, despite the claims in Wired Magazine's "The Web is Dead" article, since "simpler, sleeker services -- think apps" are not everything.

Yes, it is true as their article, "A virtual counter-revolution" claims, that "cyberspace" discourse is outdated and "cloud" is in. However, the question is not whether walled gardens will exist, they do,and will continue to proliferate as they have for a while now. Rather, the question is, will key stakeholders such as industry, governments, and civil society be able to safeguard the open standards principle in the reality of emerging cloud services?

The simple answer is, yes, they will. The alternative is simply not so smart. It closes down potential markets and product opportunities (beyond simple apps), destroys the platform upon which sustainable innovation is built, and privileges niche monopolists. Tell me we are smarter than that--collectively?


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About

Trond Undheim, Ph.D, Director of Standards Strategy and Policy at the Oracle Corporation, speaker, entrepreneur, blogger, and author, is one of the world’s leading experts on technology and society. LinkedIn profile

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