In my 2002 book Living Networks I wrote about the gradual shift to open accepted standards. Earlier this year, in the context of the social network battles, I wrote Is the trend to openness accelerating? Social networks as an inflection point.
I think we can now safely say that the trend to open business is inexorable, and that in hindsight, we are quite likely to point to 2007 as the turning point.
The latest is the extraordinary news that Verizon Wireless will introduce an “Any Apps, Any Device” option for its customers in 2008, allowing them to use any phone runnning any application. There are sceptics, but because there is the real potential to attract new customers and thsu create competitive advantage, this massive step is likely to create followers, shifting the industry.
Let’s review just a few of the other steps towards open business in the last six months:
Facebook opens its developer platform
Google launches Open Social
Google launches Open Handset Alliance
Verizon Wireless announces open access
There are plenty of other examples, but this little selection includes many that are already having major impacts on their industries. Google’s clout means that its open initiatives have broad reach. Inherent in the nature of open initiatives is that others are usually driven to follow.
I think that few businesspeople really understand how fundamental this shift is. The many little examples come together into a massive trend towards openness. There is still a decade or possibly far more for all this to play out, but the pace of development of openness is, commencing in 2007, extraordinary.