Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why the AOL model is re-emerging

In a previous post, I ended up referencing AOL to talk about Facebook. It's an instructive reference, since some of the things that Facebook is doing today can best be understood if you know what AOL did in the last millennium.

Broadstuff has talked about the swing up the pendulum in which walled services (AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy) were replaced by the open World Wide Web, which may now be replaced by new walled services such as the Facebook world and the Apple world. Broadstuff referenced an Economist article (available for free) that discussed the end of Wintel, and then made several points, including the following:

Funders - especially early day ones - like Walled Worlds as it looks more like Protected IPR, it makes business cases easier (my Ad sales to my customers on my platforms). Typically the "Open" gambit is used by a large player left out or wanting to enter a closed environment (Think IBM in PCs, Google in Smartphones) or the Random Generoisit of a lare Reserach Budget (DARPA, Mosaic) entering a small market. Apple has shown Walled really works well if the customer actually buys their own iBrick in the Wall, which is the New New strategy in Walled Worlds.

Let's face it - we've spent the last decade-plus trying to figure out how to make money by giving stuff away for free. Apple has taken another direction.
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