Sunday, April 16, 2006

THE Internet is entering its Lego era.

The Internet is Entering the Lego EraSoftware Out There

Published: April 5, 2006

THE Internet is entering its Lego era.

Indeed, blocks of interchangeable software components are proliferating on the Web and developers are joining them together to create a potentially infinite array of useful new programs. This new software represents a marked departure from the inflexible, at times unwieldy, programs of the past, which were designed to run on individual computers.

As a result, computer industry innovation is rapidly becoming decentralized. In the place of large, intricate and self-contained programs like Microsoft Word, written and maintained by armies of programmers, smaller companies, with just a handful of developers, are now producing pioneering software and Web-based services. These new services can be delivered directly to PC's or even to cellphones. Bigger companies are taking note.

For example, Google last month bought Writely, a Web-based word-processing program created by three Silicon Valley programmers. Eric Schmidt, the Google chief executive, said that Google did not buy the program to compete against Microsoft Word. Rather, he said, it viewed Writely as a key component in hundreds of products it is now developing.

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