Of interoperability, standard protocols, the crowd, and user experience!
Good points, Tom Goodwin! What you describe is as if, for emails, you had to use the same service / app as the one used by the sender to be able to send a response:
- Gmail to Gmail
- Outlook to Outlook
Good that there is interoperability via standard email protocols!
Interoperability: is RSS dead?
This reminds me of the debate on RSS being dead or not… RSS is (was?) a great way to distribute content and use whatever platform to read / consume. RSS for news consumption (it has many other purposes…) is being replaced by Flipboard and the likes… You end up going from app to app instead of being able to get the content in your aggregator.
Control of the whole user experience?
I love Flipboard. Clean experience and UI. This is about controlling the content and the way it is consumed; total control over the user experience. A bit like Apple does by controlling the total experience via hardware / software / App Store. This makes sense for certain categories of apps. Plus, locking users in a platform is a great way to serve ads…
You go where the crowd is…
For some app categories (IM as you mentioned), the network effect is what matters. You go where the people are. For example, I loved Path. Great idea, great experience, great UI… but stopped using it because I knew no one using it. The opposite applies to Whatsapp. I hate the UI… but use it because everybody around me is using it. All these apps are also a network; the battle is on who is the biggest or who grows the faster. Not really related to interoperability!
I do. I used to love it to be able to post to several social networks at the same time. I still had to have an account on each network, but this is the closest experience to what you describe. But it died. Probably because the value is in the network; not in the interoperability. See what Twitter did to limit the use of its API… Obviously, there are still some exceptions like Hootsuite (R.I.P. ping.fm), Buffer… They monetize their app and are successful, but they are far, in terms of value, from the networks.
Tom Goodwin, I am impatient to see your follow up post!