Is WAP the Web?

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From: Dave Winer (
Date: Wed May 31 2000 - 04:58:21 PDT

An interesting group of associated topics, in a single item on today's
Scripting News..

***Is WAP the Web?

Lance Knobel: "Yesterday's Wall Street Journal Europe had a fascinating
piece on the strategy telecoms companies are following with WAP. They are
'locking' their phones so that you can only access their portal, or even in
some cases only access sites that have agreements with them. Have these
people learned nothing from the Web? Yesterday, the French courts ruled that
France Telecom had to unlock its phones -- but only at users' request!"

Let's ask Tim Berners-Lee what he thinks. Tim, in hindsight, I wish you had
trademarked the term <i>Web</i>, so that they would have to license it from
you. Then you could put a stop to their claims that you're getting the Web
through your cellphone. If you can only access part of the Web, you're not
getting the Web. That's fundamental. Maybe a simple whitepaper from TBL
would do the trick?

Yesterday at lunch with Rohit, we talked about doing some whitepapers. I
asked Rohit if he is a writer, and he told me about the O'Reilly books he
wrote. That's a good start. A couple of weeks ago I volunteered to help TBL
write a whitepaper on his Semantic Web vision. I figured that by doing it I
would have to understand what it is, which would make it worth writing about
to me.

I believe that among a group of about 25 people we have in our heads a
fairly clear vision for what the next layer on the Web will look like. We're
lucky that Microsoft left a delay of 22 days here for us to play with.

There's probably a flaw to Microsoft's NGWS strategy, it basically revolves
around the W in NGWS. According to Microsoft the W stands for "Windows".
According to Rohit (and I agree) the W must stand for Web.

BTW, Lance is the programme director for the World Economic Forum, the
organization that runs the annual Davos meeting, and editor and publisher of
WorldLink magazine. He's a friend of mine, not technical, but he understands
the Web in its most essential aspect, the universality, the routing-around
of outages that it does so well.


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