The media-ization of software

Ad Age has a big special issue out today on digital media. I contributed an article that looks at some of the implications of the rise of cloud computing, particularly the blurring of the line between the consumer software business and the media business:

In a closet in a spare bedroom of my house is a crate of PC-software programs on CD-ROMs and DVDs. There are dozens of them neatly wedged into their plastic cases – financial programs, graphics programs, encyclopedias, games, business applications, hobby applications. And they all seem, suddenly, like strange artifacts from the past …

Read on.

4 thoughts on “The media-ization of software

  1. alan

    You have done the work Nick and now appear to be destined to plug away at awakening the masses.

    As the turn to cloud computing increases its speed, it is apparently also changing, on a very different front, the mind sets of goliaths like IBM and Microsoft.

    Microsoft, once the master of standoffishness, has turned to its customers for input and more importantly realized that the open source model might save them money and make the development of better products more immediate.

    By contributing programmer hours to software development that might ultimately benefit them and hiring Tom Hanrahan last year straight from the Open Source Development Labs they make it clear that they will not be left behind.

    They have apparently realized that in a do or die world where giants like Amazon and Google are striding into the future at a rate that leaves most others in the dust they also want some of the pie.

    I find it interesting that this turn in direction by Microsoft is prompted not by egalitarianism but by fear and the almighty dollar.

    Are the powerful images, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” used by ER to describe the two diametrically apposed processes now morphing and how will that reality be manifest, either in Microsoft’s internal working, a final product or more importantly the future relationship to its customer base?

    Regards, Alan

  2. Carlos Leyva

    Yes, the cloud is giving a whole new meaning to “plug and play.” I am in the process of launching a new “digital business” of sorts and considered some “old school” options and punted on all of them.

    It is Google Apps, QuickBooks Online, VOIP phone solution, etc.–100% on the cloud. Our distributed virtual office follows us wherever we go. The alternative now feels like a trip in the “Twilight Zone.”

  3. Mike Whatley

    Alan’s remarks are about 3 years too late. MS and IBM recognized the coming move to the cloud long before Nick’s book came out. Ray Ozzie’s famous memo in 05 (much as Bill Gates Internet Memo to MS employees in the 90’s) recognized the cloud’s emergence if with less clairity than Nick has shown.

    Further, Alan’s marxist toned rhetoric (( ‘I find it interesting that this turn in direction by Microsoft is prompted not by egalitarianism but by fear and the almighty dollar” )) sounds silly in a post industrial knowledge worker world.

    And lastly, not that it’s relevant but the dollar is far from it’s former status as “almighty” in the analog era. One can hope for it’s return to “analog” status.

  4. alan

    Thanks Mike for letting me know I was so far behind, seriously.

    Marxist. A poorly worded sentence that in retrospect did not express what I intended, I must have been grating my teeth to hard while thinking Microsoft, thanks for the wake up call.

    With “almighty” I meant to express my perception that revenue is the top and bottom line. Microsoft lacks the magical ingredients that would in any way bring any balance to that for me!

    “One can hope for it’s return to “analog” status.”

    I am not sure just where the dollar was then but hope all you will, its not going to happen!

    Regards, Alan.

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