Tim O’Reilly writes:
ong before I was calling it Web 2.0, in my talks about the future “internet operating system,” I always have had a slide called “A Platform Beats an Application Every Time”, in which I predict that the first wave of web applications will be replaced by a second wave of consolidation, which weaves it all together into a new platform. And I provide a view of two alternative futures, one symbolized by Tolkien’s “one ring to rule them all,” and the other by David Weinberger’s “Small Pieces Loosely Joined.”
As databases built by collective action get to the point of increasing returns, one or more de facto standards will emerge, and may well be owned by one company. They will ultimately, regardless of good intentions, most likely use that market power to limit competition and protect their position. The only defense against it is a vigorous pursuit of open standards in data interchange.