Apps or Platform

There have been many debates over the past decade about which is more valuable – the platform or the applications.

The question is about value creation to the user, monetization, differentiation and long term viability.

It was a debate in the desktop OS wars (Microsoft vs Lotus/IBM)

It was a debate in the networking wars. (Microsoft, Novell, Sun etc). Same thing with databases.

It was/is a debate in the social networking context (platform vs apps).

It comes up all the time when thinking about the browser

Same thing with game consoles. Would you rather be EA or Sony? On the flip side, would you rather be Nintendo or a Nintendo developer.

And now Roger is asking the same about Twitter. In his post he asks will Twitter apps or the platform will be more valuable.

It’s a very interesting topic. Few thoughts for now:

First, I’m thrilled that developers are building buisnesses and applications on top of Twitter. Stocktwits is off to a fantastic start. I love it. And there are plenty of other 3rd party apps doing different amazing things that I use every day.

Second, I don’t think it’s easy one to pin down and say one is better than the other. Mainly because i don’t think you can just put one company in a box like that. Think about Google for a second. Platform or application or service. Where do they make their money? How do they help others make money?

The best part about Google is they can make money themselves and they have helped other companies generate new buisness models at the same time. That’s a fantastic model.

Oh, and third, I can’t share Twitter’s plans for monetization just yet. But stay tuned :)