Blogger: Anne Thomas Manes
Recommended reading: Marc Andreessen recently posted a very thought-provoking entry in his blog on the emerging world of Internet Platforms. He describes three types of platforms (each a superset of the previous level):
Level 1: Platforms that enable applications to interact with the supplied Internet-based application via APIs -- exemplified by Flickr, and by far the most common type of Internet Platform available today.
Level 2: Platforms that enable applications to run within the supplied Internet-based application via a plug-in model -- exemplified by Facebook.
As Andreessen says, there are a lot of challenges associated with being a provider of a Level 3 Internet Platform, so there aren't very many players in this space yet. But a trend toward this type of platform will fundamentally change the shape of application development. As he says in his second closing thought:
A new platform typically enables a new set of applications that were not previously possible.