The recent news and rollouts by major companies are going to have a huge impact on the startup surface, and sink a lot of them as well. Here are some I want to mention:
- Microsoft’s roll-out of web-based and free Office is going to damage web office suites developers, like Zoho;
- Microsoft’s new Outlook 2010 is going to include social network features. Bye-bye Xobni (which is a social Outlook plug-in);
- Twitter buys one of the iPhone clients – Tweetie. It means all other iPhone twitter clients are screwed;
- Facebook, in addition to their Credits system, is rolling out an offers system – a very popular way of monetization. Wait till they make their Credits the only way to take money from the users, and numerous startups will kiss good-bye.
However, the top prize for screwing its ecosystem and partner network goes to Apple:
- Their are introducing their ad platform iAd. No doubt it will be the exclusive way for advertising on iPhones and iPads;
- Their new SDK licence agreement clearly prohibits use of any development platforms except for Objective C. This is a major blow to Adobe with their new Flash CS5, which includes tools to easily port Flash apps to iPhone OS. It also potentially makes Unity – a new platform for 3D game design outlawed.
The lesson we all can learn: when your application totally depends on some company’s product for monetization or value for users, the company can evaporate your business in a blink. Our MobileNoter also falls into this category. People like our product, but if Microsoft decides to port its OneNote to MacOS and iPhone OS, we’ll have to have a much better product than theirs in order to win the customers.