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Forrester CEO: The Web is a Software Architecture and the App Internet is the Next Wave

by Michael Stal on Dec 09, 2011 |

In his recent presentation at the Le Web 2011 conference in Paris, Forrester Research's Chairman and CEO George Colony claimed that most thinking models about the Internet and the Web are outdated - he distinguished between the Web as a software architecture and the Internet as the organizing framework. Moreover, users already seem to be saturated by the Social Network Model. Enterprise Social might present an excellent new opportunity. But according to Colony, the real next big thing will be the App Internet:

In this model, powerful local devices (PCs, smart phones, tablets) run applications that simultaneously take advantage of resources in the Web/Cloud. If you want to see this model in action, check out iPhone and Android applications.

Colony believes, the old models which he calls the Microsoft Model and the Web/Cloud Model  are not appropriate anymore:

the “Microsoft Model” … where local personal computers do most of the work. The second model is the Web/Cloud model, in which most of the work happens on remote servers.  … The Microsoft Model fails to leverage the economies of scale in the Cloud; Web/Cloud fails to  leverage the exponential growth in the power of local storage and processors.

In this respect, Colony shares some ideas of an article by Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff in the WIRED Magazine.

As he describes in a recent blog, Google will need to address the challenge that the information in the App Internet is not easily searchable, Microsoft will remain focused on the device-centric Office strategy and Apple will continue its cruise. While some players in the Software-as-a-Service market might get “slaughtered”, newcomers such as Flipboard will boom.

Forrester Research claims, the App Internet market could be worth $2.2 billion.

As many famous quotes suggest, there is nothing more difficult than to forecast the future. Many arguments of Colony are interesting and convincing, but the question is whether the Web all really develop in the anticipated way. This especially holds for disruptive technologies. Could have anyone anticipated the App Internet 10 years ago? Not really. And what exactly is the App Internet? This is not defined very concretely by the Forrester CEO. Nonetheless, it might be valuable to think about new ways of software engineering and application deployment and thoroughly monitor the IT universe. Software architects and developers might at least consider a competence ramp-up of their App development skills.

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