Dave Winer On Why Google Owning Feedburner Is Bad
July 24, 2007, 8:44 am
Filed under: Dave Winer, FeedBurner, Google, Microsoft, Vermeer

Well Dave Winer’s take on Google’s potential as master of Feedburner is troubling, and probably not that far off the mark. It’s generated a lot of interest and some heated debate.

Dave draws the comparison to Microsoft’s leverage of it’s monopoly on desktop operating systems to foil Lotus 1-2-3, the then dominant spreadsheet application back in the day when ‘Office’ suites of software didn’t yet exist. He recalls the phrase “Windows isn’t done until Lotus doesn’t run.”, but this actually reminds me of another Microsoft move from that distant time.

In many ways this is the parallel in time of the discussions that were had when Microsoft bought Vermeer (now Frontpage) in 1995. There are obvious differences of course, but there are many similarities; Vermeer was the leading application to assist in publishing web pages, FeedBurner the leading service for publishing RSS feeds, near monopoly acquires both. Frontpage ended up being far from the dominant player in the space, despite tight coupling with Microsoft’s server products, and everyone forgot about the controversy after awhile.

Whether Feedburner gains monopolistic power over the feed publishing space will depend largely on the competition and how clever they can be in producing superior offerings. It will also depend on people like Dave Winer to continue to advance standards that allow feeds themselves to evolve and compete.