Erick Schonfeld, Om Malik and Michael V. Copeland round up The Next Net 25 for CNN Money/Business 2.0:
Things are really crackling in Silicon Valley these days. There’s the frenzied startup action, the rising rivers of VC cash, even the occasional bubble-icious long-term stock prediction (Google $2,000, anyone?). There’s so much happening that the buzzword recently employed to try to encapsulate the era–”Web 2.0″–now seems hopelessly inadequate, defined and redefined into near meaninglessness by squadrons of aspiring entrepreneurs, marketers, and other fortune hunters.
We are in the early stages of what might be better thought of as the Next Net. The Next Net will encompass all digital devices, from PC to cell phone to television. Its defining characteristics include the ability to interact instantaneously with any of the more than 1 billion Web users across the globe–not by, say, instant messaging, but by evolving instant-voice-messaging and instant-video-messaging apps that will make today’s e-mail and IM seem crude. The Next Net is deeply collaborative: People from across the planet can work together on the same task, and products or tools can be rapidly tweaked and improved by the collective wisdom of the entire online world. The new era is also creating a realm of endless mix and match: Anyone with a browser can access vast stores of information, mash it up, and serve it in new ways, to a few people or a few hundred million.
Whew! It kind of takes your breath away! Purple prose aside, there’s likely gold in them thar hills, so who do they think currently look like winners in the Next Net game? Hit the link for the details, but there is a list of startups and one established “incumbent” mentioned in each of five categories:
Microsoft is generously anointed the incumbent in Webtop for “rolling out Windows Live, Office Live, and other Next Net-centric software,” but shares the limelight with startups JotSpot, 30boxes, 37Signals, Writely, and Zimbra.