On this week's MonkCast (a joint production between ZDNet and the IT analysts at Redmonk), I'm joined by RedMonk co-founder and principal analyst James Governor and before we could even get into any analysis of the week's happenings, we landed on a discussion about keeping beer cold in the old days -- the really old days. Like the 1300's old days. Governor is based in the UK and about the time we recorded the call today was really quitting time for him and he was talking about finding a good beer. So I asked him what sort of beers he liked and from there, we ended up discussing how German engineering was proving itself in the 1300's when beer was kept cold by snow that was hauled down from the mountains and into holes in the ground where the beer was kept (and where Germans went to drink it). And here I though the genesis of warm beer (still enjoyed by many, but not me) was the absence of refrigeration in the early days.
From there, we talk about Apple's Safari on the iPhone and Windows. As iDay (June 29) draws closer, developers were complaining that there was no way to develop third party apps for the iPhone when, voila, at Apple's WorldWide Developer Conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that a version of Safari (to which Web developers could write Web apps) would be available on the iPhone.
So now, at least Web developers have access to the iPhone (sort of). Sure, maybe the version of Safari on the iPhone can run AJAX-based Web apps. But when was the last time you compared the performance of AT&T's (the only wireless provider to carry the iPhone on June 29) Web performance to that of Verizon Wireless' EVDO network. It's one reason I'm not ready to switch providers any time soon. Another is the fact that neither of the networks from T-Mobile or AT&T have much of a signal in my neighborhood.
Meanwhile, with Safari now available for the Mac, iPhone, and now Windows, is there a minor power play afoot? Is Apple once again needling Microsoft? James and I hit on that for a bit.
Then, there was the little flare up between Google and eBay in Boston. For those not in the know, eBay doesn't mind it if its auction customers use PayPal to handle the electronic payments between buyers and sellers. But, one thing it apparently minds (and disallows) is usage of Google's PayPal alternative (called "Google CheckOut"). Here in Boston this week, while eBay was having its developer conference, Google planned a little CheckOut party for eBay's developers to attend. But the plans ruffled eBay's feathers to the point that the auction giant pulled its advertising from Google's AdWords network.
Getting wrapped up in the he said/she said or the soap opera of it all is useless. What's more important to me here is the willingness to wall-off more gardens than are already walled-off. Sure, it's a minor skirmish in the big picture. And perhaps with the mashup culture and all the APIs that eBay is offering, it won't matter anyway: developers will be able to work around eBay's limitations in terms of what transaction engine we can use. But take this to the Nth level and we've got a stovepipe problem that will fracture the Internet into multiple little ones that have so few commonalities, it will be like logging into CompuServe or Prodigy in the 1980s. Is that what we really want?