As an alarming legal predicament builds momentum in the software world, the dangers of a not-quite-dystopian Taco Bell centric future saturated with legal barriers continues to threaten the enterprise landscape, and undermine innovation and interoperability. Litigious quagmires involving software patents and copyrights has become the technology equivalent of the cold war, a mostly silent battle where software titans calculate strategies in mutually assured destruction. Two of those titans, Oracle and Google have been entrenched in a protracted legal squabble involving Application Programming Interfaces (API). One of the primary points of contention is whether API’s are copyrightable, and as a consequence, whether they can be reverse engineered without permission. All of this is happening just as we’re seeing pockets of innovation emerge in largely conventional software markets such as PLM, ERP, ECM, and CRM for which API’s play a central role. Will every innovative enterprise software startup be litigated and fined into oblivion as a result? You’ve been fined $10 million dollars for violating the API Morality Statute. Continue reading
Google, Alphabet, or whatever Chef Boyardee-style nonsense they decide to call themselves in the future have thrown in the towel on an important technology warfront: the battle for social network dominance. As Google+ thrashes about in its deathbed, shedding off functionality such as Google Photos as standalone products, the plan (if there really is one) is that G+ will remain as some kind of social stream and that its core technology will live on as components for other products. Soon enough we’ll have the opportunity to answer an existential question: If a social network gets deleted off the server and there’s no one around to log in, does it make a sound? In the interim, I’ve committed a heinous, unspeakable act for which I previously would infer as requiring frigid temperatures in hell. Well here comes the cold front; I joined Facebook. But my suffering is not in vain -for there’s a larger lesson to be had for those attempting to build enterprise social networks.
In the spray-on chrome frenzy to banish the very concept of perpetual software licenses before anyone stops to think and/or notice, professional authoring software is fully embracing cloud subscription Valhalla, with Adobe infamously leading the way. Considering Adobe’s bold push into cloud has netted them cartoonish amounts of cash, established CAD vendors who were cautiously dipping into subscription models are no doubt looking redeem themselves. After all, what works for creative workflows should work for engineering, right? While Adobe successfully squashed early Creative Cloud resistance by deep discounting and even providing a dedicated Photography plan, long-term affordability is about as likely as a far away green place. On the engineering front, however, resistance to cloud subscriptions is more resolute. Do not, my friends, become addicted to the cloud. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence! Which leaves an important question: Is there still room to innovate with cloud subscription models?
As enterprise software vendor houses struggle with one another to maintain and expand their territories and influence, they fight across both philosophical and logistical boundaries. What’s to say where the boundaries falls between, we know these battle lines are long-contested, not a day goes by where there’s not another story about PLM bumping up against ERP. House PLM. House ERP. House CRM. House MDM. So many acronyms claiming holistic enterprise solutions all at once, it threatens to give you a headache worthy of a space fold. We’ll ignore for the moment that a strategic philosophy like PLM shouldn’t be exclusively characterized by the specific software that carries the name. Never mind that definitions for all of these things tend to be very liquid. And we’ll conveniently forget that the right solutions tend to involve one of everything, creating multi-headed dragons. There’s collateral damage from this turf war, and that’s the mass confusion with some customers who go off and try to implement something that has exactly zero chance of meeting their needs. Some have suggested that the solution is to put your PLM in the box. What’s in the box? Pain.