Technology models undermined by business models

Elder technologists will say it was inevitable, but it's still unfortunate to learn (as from Nelson Minar) that previously free and open technologies are abandoned because -- guessing here -- they don't draw a straight line to the bottom line. For years, the Google SOAP search API has been the prime example of an open web service for those learning about web services for the first time. Now we learn that it's been put on "end of life" status. And Google Answers? Nice service, nice idea, free: now gone. For now, the Ajax search API remains, but you have to wonder.

Although technical complaints with SOAP have been aired (echoing the words of colleague Mike Kocka), the larger issue is that it may be time to question business models based upon "free" APIs such as those provided by Flickr, de.licio.us and other Google APIs. It was a nice meal while it lasted, perhaps, but won't satisfy the capitalist appetite.

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