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The number of channels and platforms on the internet and mobile internet is astounding. And it's growing practically every single day. In many ways, this is a blessing, but it's also a curse for developers and publishers.
In the run-up to the launch of the iPad, there was a lot of talk about the impact Apple's tablet computing device would have on traditional publishers. For some, including publishing execs, the iPad was seen as potential source of revitalization for newspapers and magazines.
While it remains to be seen whether or not the iPad will be as beneficial to traditional publishers as many hoped, it has become clear that finding success on the iPad isn't any easier than finding success in the broader market.
There's a lot of talk about multichannel commerce and the future, but major retailers already know that multichannel commerce isn't the future; it's already here. Consumers are shopping using many platforms, and companies that want to maximize their sales have to have a cross-channel strategy today, not tomorrow.
That explains in large part why software giant Oracle is shelling out $1bn to buy ATG, one of the leading cross-channel commerce platform providers.
Microsoft has largely been absent during the rise of self-publishing and social media. But that doesn't mean that it hasn't tried to compete. In 2004, it launched its own self-publishing/social networking platform, MSN Spaces. Today, that platform is known as Windows Live Spaces. Or, more appropriately, is not known as Windows Live Spaces.
That, of course, is because Windows Live Spaces is hardly a prominent platform in a world dominated by more successful publishing and social networking platforms.
The platforms offered by companies like Facebook, Twitter and Apple offer entrepreneurs some very compelling features. They often bring to the table built-in audiences, and, in some cases, established business models.
For reasons like these, it's no surprise that a growing number of entrepreneurs are building entire companies on top of a specific platform. And it's no surprise that investors have flocked to back them.
If you list some of the most popular and important companies on the internet today, you'll notice that most have one thing in common: they offer an API. And, in most cases, for good reason. APIs can be a valuable asset for an internet business.
But is an API a business development asset, and over time, should it cannibalize business development?
PayPal's CEO John Donahoe thinks that online payments should make up more than 20% of the global payments market, but right now it only accounts for a fraction of it. One of the ways PayPal is working to change that: courting developers.
The company's Adaptive Payments API was launched in November 2009 at the PayPal Innovate X 2009, and since then, PayPal has recruited thousands of developers and seen millions of dollars transacted using its developer platform.
Can Microsoft still compete in the mobile arena? Windows Phone 7 might be the company's last chance, as it's unlikely that Microsoft will ever be able to catch up to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android if it doesn't make a big splash now.
But if one report is accurate, Microsoft thinks it has what it takes to compete: a really big bank account.
These days it may seem like just about every company on the web is building its own development platform. Enticed by the success of platforms like those offered by Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Salesforce, more and more companies are deciding to give third party developers the ability to make their products and services better.
Yet as we have seen time and time again, building and managing a development platform can be very difficult. For that reason, companies need to be prepared and strategic if they hope to build a successful platform that can thrive long-term. Here are ten tips for doing just that.
What happens when Web 2.0 startups founded on principles of openness
and freedom grow up? If we're referring to Facebook and Twitter, the
answer is obvious: get a business model.
Unfortunately, finding a business model and implementing it successfully can be hard to do, especially when you previously invited third party developers to your 'open' platform and told them to keep the change. So it's really no surprise that Facebook and Twitter, which have collectively raised north of three-quarters of a billion dollars in financing, are finding it necessary to pull the good old bait and switch on developers.
Online payments behemoth PayPal thinks developers are key in its quest for world domination. Late last year, it launched a portfolio of new APIs that PayPal hopes will give developers the ability to create applications that extend PayPal's footprint into markets in which it believes its payment solutions could be better utilized.
But if the credit card associations have their way, PayPal will have to compete for the best developers.
Facebook has sat by and watched as prominent application developers
have made millions upon millions of dollars on its platform, primarily
through virtual currency. Not surprisingly, Facebook wants a piece of
the action and is moving to take a piece of the action.
But that may not be so easy if the results of early deal making efforts are any indication. Application developer Zynga, which operates some of the most popular social gaming apps on Facebook, including Farmville and Mafia Wars, may leave Facebook and set up its own gaming social network after negotiations with Facebook over the use of Facebook's upcoming universal payments and credits system reportedly fell apart.