I am a founder and CEO at SignalRank, a data driven technology company. I publish a weekly newsletter – That Was The Week – on Substack. The posts here are pulled from it. I also have a video podcast with Andrew Keenthat accompanies it each week. You can see the full catalogue on AnchorSpotify , Youtubeand Apple Podcasts. And I am a regular guest on Steve Gillmor’s The Gillmor Gang.

Microsoft/RealNames, realnames Strategy

Open Win API?

OK so here’s an idea.

I got to thinking about Microsoft’s Win32 API’s. They are its crown jewels. So far, RealNames had focused on DNS as the problem. Its limits were experienced around the world as intense irritations. Especially in Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, India, Russia, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Thailand and the Arab world.

Microsoft has essentially frozen innovation in the naming area. By favoring its search engine over true innovation it has held back progress as surely as the Church did during the dark ages.

So … how about we build a layer on top of Windows. An OpenWin API so to speak. This API would sit on top of the Win32 API, and whatever succeeds it. It would stand between applications and the Windows OS. It would be open and free. Developers would be encouraged to write to it instead of to Win32’s.

In my opinion this would be a great way to push Microsoft’s OS down – to the level of a service. The “real” API would be the OpenWinAPI.

Think about it. No longer any need for Linux or a whole new OS. We could use the boring parts of Windows and its widespread distribution as a platform on which to build a truly OpenWin API. All Windows Apps would work on top of the OpenWin API. In the era of desktop applications talking to web services this is possibly the only way to insert control in between Microsoft and the Internet.

The calls the browser makes to the wininet.dll could be intercepted and new innovative features could be available to it through this OpenWin API. Innovation would again be in the hands of the users and the development community.

I really like this idea.

In fact, I could even be persuaded to invest time and money into it.

How many people would download it? How many of the Dell’s Compaq’s and Gateway’s would pre-install it? My guess is all of them.

We would effectively be implementing the separation of Microsoft’s OS from its applications, by inserting open middleware between them. That would also cut off Microsoft’s ability – through the OS and its applications, to monopolize access to web services. I have registered open-passport.com. Truly open and federated authentication should be the first app in the OpenWin API application suite. Single sign-on through a trusted third party should be the goal.

Of course Keyword navigation could live on too. We could support third party search [Google comes to mind, and Overture] as the default.

Email me with ideas, suggestions and comments.

9:31:00 PM

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