John Dvorak wrote a very interesting article for PCMag on 8/14, Google Pulls Plug, Everyone Misses Point.
I’ve been saying web apps were overhyped ever since SalesForce first came out and was getting tons of hype back in the 90′s, and that’s not because I used to work at a competitor (gotta love the wayback machine).
On the surface, it’s a great idea. No installation. No deployment headaches. No massive, multi machine upgrade pains. And with AJAX, and now SilverLight, you can get a user experience approaching a traditional fat client. Plus, with broadband nearing ubiquity, some of the bandwidth issues of the past are no more.
And for many installations, where users can connect to a centralized server within the company’s domain, it often is a very smart architecture.
So what’s the problem?
Dvorak points to the demise of the Google DTO/DTR program as exactly the problem. Imagine if it was YOUR BUSINESS that was running off the DTO program and Google pulled the plug. “Oh, you won’t be able to access your customer records after Aug 8th, but here’s a coupon for 2 bucks at Google Checkout you can use for the next 2 months.”
I doubt SalesForce is going anywhere anytime soon, and they do have a compelling product. I’m not even picking on them, per se. But the whole idea of putting that kind of trust into an app that’s running completely NOT under your control is just a little, eh, bothersome?
In fact, I tend to believe that the absolute BEST thing that could happen for everyone is for a few more biggies, like Google Apps, or SalesForce, or Microsoft MSN Mail, etc, to bite the dust and strand millions of people.
It’d hurt, but people would take a serious look at the implications of relying on ASPs to supply services like that.
There were some big reasons back in the early 80′s that the personal computer and the fat client app, as opposed to the mainframe and the dumb terminal, because so popular. Some of them have been forgotten, and unfortunately, it might take a few tough lessons to remind people.