This a comment I posted on http://web2.wsj2.com/microsoft_gets_disrupted.htm regarding Microsoft getting disrupted.
My thinking is Microsoft needs to lead the way in API innovation that makes HUGE DATA (like the satelite images used in Google Maps) more accessible. Nothing new with that, and Dion’s “Amazon Understands the Long Tail” post is a great example of how Amazon is working on this.
Why is HUGE DATA more important than ever? Because of the long tail of markets AND SERVICES. The low end of the market is going to be really cluttered as countless apps compete at the low end of the market for users who want things that “just work” – as Ray Ozzie points out in his email. Writely, Basecamp and 2ndSite are all examples of this. I’ve written more about this clutter here (about halfway down).
I’d say the “big guys” like Microsoft need to play the role of HUB for HUGE DATA that the little guys can’t afford to access/complile/gather/etc. Presently, Amazon and Google and EBay do this very well. Salesforce is working on it in their own way. I’d say Microsoft is falling behind.
If I was at Microsoft worrying about strategy, I’d be thinking about HUGE DATA and how to free it, not developing many little web services and trying to repeat my past success with the same old offerings that worked before. I’d focus immediately on huge data first and foremost because Microsoft will have plenty of time to achieve significant market share for the many “just work” services – even two years out…the real opportunity seems to be in HUGE DATA. That’s the one Microsoft does not want to fall behind on…