OK, so the iPhone was mentioned twice, but in very fleeting moments without any substance whatsoever (it could just have well not been mentioned at all and this week's MonkCast would have been no different). It was refreshing to talk about industry events other than the iPhone and today's MonkCast was largely dominated by discussions of version 3 of the GNU General Public License.
Today is apparently GPLv3 day: the day that the license is officially put into product. The new GPL was written to improve on it's predecessor but the process of drafting it has not been without controversy. In today's MonkCast, Redmonk principal analyst and co-founder Stephen O'Grady talks about the new GPL, how Novell has managed to have its cake and eat it too (Novell gets to benefit from the new GPL but gets to keep its deal with Microsoft... something that the new GPL prevents other GPL licensees from doing), and whether divisions over the new GPL's content is causing open source advocates to draw lines in the sand between themselves rather than with the commercial software community. Is Microsoft dividing and conquering and if so, are they doing it successfully?
Then we move onto Web APIs. Application Programming Interfaces have always been a sticky issue. For platform and service providers like LinkedIn, Plaxo, FaceBook and others (all of whom appear to be opening up through APIs), APIs could give developers all the access to the crown jewels they need to not only break down the walls of an existing walled-garden, but to break down a working business model as well. For some companies where a real money transaction lives at the end of some or all API executions, APIs make perfect sense. They also make sense for outfits like Google where, even though the company doesn't ring a cash register when someone access the Google Maps API, there's a network effect that could lead developers to use other Google APIs (eg: Google Checkout) where real revenue exists (today, Google Checkout is free to use, but that's a temporary promotion to attract usage).
Given all that's happening in the API space, Redmonk analyst Michael Cote and I talk about what could be the next great business model for API providers: revenue sharing. For example, maybe the way to get developers psyched about your APIs is to give them a cut every time they bring business to you via API execution. Is that any different than the way Unix vendors used to subsidize the development of Unix software in order to drive adoption of their platforms? Perhaps the more things change, the more they stay the same.
That and a whole lot more on today's MonkCast.