Last year WebEx launched WebEx Connect, an on demand development platform for collaborative, composite (mashup) applications. At the Web 2.0 Expo, the company announced Connect Developer Network that includes tools, community resources and marketing programs for participants.
WebEx claims that its distribution, integration and monetization platform will help to transform software "just as RSS, newsreaders and Google transformed the content world." I asked Shankar Iyer, vice president, strategic initiatives at WebEx, about the claim. "Much like there were platforms for consumer content publishers, we are a publishing platform for the next generation of applications."
I asked Iyar about customers and competitors. "We are just announcing the Developer Network, and it's not out to customers yet. It's a new kind of platform, and it remains to be seen who are our competitors." As Phil Wainewright has pointed out WebEx has a large installed base via its collaboration software and robust infrastructure as a starting point for attracting outside developers large and small into its emerging ecosystem.
Iyar wasn't forthcoming about competitors for the WebEx Connect mashup platform, but salesforce.com has similar ambitions with its Apex platform and many tiny players, such as Coghead and Teqlo, are in the business mashup game.
What's clear is that business mashup, integration, distribution platforms, as well as more pure infrastructure platforms like Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, that can handle billions of transactions and provide a highly reliable and scalable environment and services for billing and monetization, is a next big thing.