Right now it seems most Facebook users are experimenting with apps that are fun to use with friends. They are free, so there is no financial risk for using the wrong one (but there are social risks such as unknowingly annoying friends, but that is another post). But what if it was this easy to switch any business applications?
•The data stays the same (your profile) but the application can be switched easily.
•There is no install base type of lock-in since the app is remotely hosted.
•There are no contracts.
•There are no service level agreements.
•There is no software disc to be delivered.
•There is no need to buy new hardware.
•There is no namespace lock-in.
•There is no need to let other users know that you have switched (that is automatic).
Before Facebook, Salesforce.com took a similar strategy with their Appexchange platform. Since Salesforce could not develop custom applications for any conceivable business use, they opened the platform to developers to increase Salesforce’s own attractiveness to prospective customers. The business model for Salesforce application developers is selling their value-added services that Salesforce by themselves are not able to provide.
If this is the future, (and I am sure it is), this means applications will compete with each other for users. They will be evaluated on use of use, cost, and effectiveness. This means that you and I get to enjoy these benefits as we move to better and better apps, and be happier at work. It means that a few companies might be category killers since the open, easy to switch marketplace has allowed the best app to gain the most users. It means software development companies that are lazy will die off, and this good thing for the application marketplace (assuming a user can easily switch, and the abilty to switch is a very transparent feature in the marketplace). The standard for software usability will be raised and the world will be a better place.
Do you need a web developer for a Drupal or WordPress project? A marketing strategist to manage your social media profiles, search ads, or SEO? Contact me here.