Who is the Big Winner in a Web Battle?

Forgotten Movable TypeThe end of Google Reader and the rush of new Feedly accounts has caused people to declare Feedly a “big winner” in the battle for picking up the sudden slack now that Google is closing Google Reader.

I think it is early to call Feedly a big winner. For one thing, it is not so hard to get a lot of new accounts when the tide turns suddenly. Keeping them is another issue. How will Feedly manage the load on their servers? Not so well that first several hours. I began setting up an account and could not complete the process. Is my half done account one of those they have counted as a new member? Likely. How many others are accounted for mistakenly this way?

Beyond that, will Feedly keep it’s new accounts with new features, will they adapt what they have for what the Google Reader crowd will be expecting? People seldom want change, even when they make a change they really want everything to be about the same. The Google Feedlies won’t want to learn how to use a new site, with different software, different buttons to mash.

Anyway, what I really got thinking about is how small this little battle is compared to past web service/ software battles.

RIP NetscapeThe first which comes to my mind  is the browser wars between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. At the time MSIExplorer won. Even now you could be kind and say MSIExplorer is still the winner. But, it would be a kindness. At this time Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the web browser which has to be coddled along when it comes to web design and development. Code has to be added for it, like bottle feeding an over grown baby. Poor Netscape is gone. You may find an old version, unsupported and dusty. Isn’t there some quote about the heros of the past or the underdogs?

The other big battle was the one between the ruling blog software (not counting Blogger/ Blogspot, this was a war between the stand alones, the blogs for people who bought domains and learned how to write code, or at least manipulate and customize it).

In the beginning Ben and Mena Trott had Movable Type as the most popular, undisputed champion of the blogging world. If you had a blog, on a domain, you were most likely, proudly running Movable Type. Then, along came an upstart, WordPress. At first WordPress wasn’t even an underdog, it was just some little pretender to the throne. Movable Type was king, who needed anything else? Then… Movable Type made a change… just one change… they asked people to pay for what had been free. The utopia toppled, there were grumbling rebels and when the rubble and smoke cleared WordPress (and Matt Mullenweg) were sitting on the throne. Movable Type hung on, there were many who kept their old versions afloat, stubbornly refusing to be disloyal. But, in the end, a blog software is only as good as the community support behind it.

Now, Movable Type is a relic, still standing in some far off place, unknown to anyone but old timers. WordPress was the big winner, in that case there was a big winner. I couldn’t say the same for the battle of the web browsers. Neither of them have ended on top. Firefox and Google Chrome have a friendly rivalry, not a war, not a battle, but not quite a friendship.

What do you think were the biggest wars for turf online? There have been a lot of them, even for the people who haven’t been online for the long haul. Which one or two web battle comes to your mind and what did it change for you?

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