Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 27 Oct 2002 12:08:56 -0800

"Tim O'Reilly" <> writes:

> I've been saying for years that the shift towards commodity software
> (whether free or just open standards) would lead towards a new paradigm in
> which money was increasingly made on services.  (At one point I was calling
> it infoware, now I'm saying web services and 'the internet operating
> system', but the point is similar.  People don't pay for the software, but
> for the services the software delivers.)

I think that even ``web services'' is not the best name, as it implies
a service provider and a service consumer.

Napster was a web service because it had a single point of contact.
But in a properly implemented Napster, as some of the current music
trading systems are, there is no single point of contact, and no
identifiable service provider.

Similarly eBay is a web service provider joining sellers and buyers,
but in an age of infobots there is no need for a single trading floor.
You just need agreed upon protocols, and you probably need to enable a
market in buyer assurance programs.

For a current example, SMTP is not a ``web service.''  It is simply
available on the Internet--part of, as you say, the ``Internet
operating system.''  HTTP itself is not a ``web service,'' although it
obviously enables them.

I don't think we're going to eliminate the middle-man.  But I do think
we're going to eventually eliminate the service provider.  The term
``web services,'' while it won't be wrong, will increasingly have the
wrong connotations.  What the Internet does is bring interconnectivity
to the masses.  I'm not good at names, but maybe this should be
``fully distributed services.''

In a world of fully distributed services, profits for the service
providers drop from the level of something like eBay to the level of
something like a law firm.