Paradigms lost

Summary:Well, the week may have started with the announcement that Oracle would acquire PeopleSoft. However, Tim O'Reilly, founder and president of O'Reilly & Associates, has provocatively stated that "eBay will someday buy Oracle.

Well, the week may have started with the announcement that Oracle would acquire PeopleSoft. However, Tim O'Reilly, founder and president of O'Reilly & Associates, has provocatively stated that "eBay will someday buy Oracle."

O'Reilly's facetious point is that the interconnected, globalWeb is enabling a new power shift that tends to commoditize software much as software arose amid the commoditization of hardware a generation before."Companies like eBay and Amazon that are not really now thought of as computer companies or players in the computer industry may one day be seen in that way," he says in an interview with David Kaye at IT Conversations. Just as IBM underestimated Microsoft, so too, might the power of today's digital savvy "end user" companies be underestimated.

He points to a number of key trends that amount to a toppling of the present paradigm. "Linux is really a lot about commodity software," O'Reilly states. "And so when software gets commoditized, Oracle is going to be made irrelevant in the same way that the big minicomputer companies were made irrelevant by the PC."

That leads to a triumph of"infoware-type vendors," companies that deeply engage and build customer communities. "eBay or Amazon's dominance is not based on the software that they have," concludes O'Reilly. "eBay doesn't even run their own software. They basically subcontracted it out to a variety of technology providers and switched from time to time. It's around the information that's on their site and the critical mass that they have there, and the critical mass of customers who rely on that information."

Topics: E-Commerce

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