Web Smart 50

Business Week writes:

The Web is wriggling into the nooks and crannies of businesses across the globe, from an Italian electricity giant to an onion farm in Oregon. Some companies are culling data they had never encountered before and sharing the information with customers via blogs or wireless hookups. Others are turning customers into their eyes and ears in the marketplace.

Sure, the technology is zippy. But this year’s WebSmart 50 shows that the bigger story, in many cases, is how it redefines age-old relationships. Suppliers are becoming partners, developers are suddenly knee-deep in customer relations, and employees who used to be the last to find out news are publishing it themselves. Such changes are having a far greater impact on companies than anything Google or Apple has cooked up.

Newsvine

Om Malik writea about a soon-to-be-launched service: “Newsvine has quietly built a site that uses the elements of Web 2.0 such as tagging, user submitted content and all sorts of things. But just dont call them a Web 2.0 company…Their model is pretty simple. Marry the content from generic news sources like Associated Press or Reuters, with citizen journalism. Newsvine will feature AP news feeds, which will account for about 80% of the content on the site. Rest of it will be made up of contributions from citizen journalists, who will sign-up and submit content to the site. So if you are a LA Lakers fan, then your columns could be featured right next to AP copy on a URL that will essentially look like Newsvine.com/Lakers. Given that I have been rallying against the whole concept of gross exploitation of user generated content you might be wondering why is it any different? Well, because you get a piece of the advertising that is sold against content you generated. Those of you who dont want to write long articles, simply save the link to Newsvine with your comments.”

Mobile Mail Investments

Bill Burnham writes:

A grand total of over $516M invested in just three software companies [Visto, Good and Seven] all of whom are focused on the same niche of providing middleware software that enables mobile devices to use e-mail. Whats more, the amount of capital invested in the space has increased by over 100% in little over a year. Good lord.

Now $500M wouldnt be a big deal if these companies were pursuing a long term market worth billions of dollars but theres a decent chance that this market wont even exist in 5 years. Thats because wireless e-mail middleware has now gotten the full attention of a little company up in Redmond Washington called Microsoft. Microsoft just happens to be the largest provider of enterprise e-mail software in the world. As it turns out, much of the value-added provided by these wireless e-mail middleware companies has been simply to make Microsofts Exchange servers accessible from a mobile device.