January 10, 2013 Note (this is the original story – an edited and revised version may be read here.In the height of the “dot com” frenzy a class of companies emerged called Application Service Providers (ASP). The ASPs claimed to solve all known business problems by providing applications over the Internet. Solutions covered a wide range of activities from integration of the supply chain to a complete implementation of “office” functionality – spreadsheet, word processor, data base, presentation capability, etc. The value proposition was that you no longer had to buy Microsoft Office – you could just use that functionality via a server over the Internet. The problem was that it didn’t really solve a problem.
Although I continue to be enthusiastic about the vast potential of the Internet, I felt at the time that the ASP model was premature — primarily because there were not enough people with always on, high quality, reliable, connections to the net. (network computers suffered from the same problem). On top of the network issue was the fact that the ASP solutions introduced were of questionable value and the result was that the ASP model essentially disappeared. What goes around, comes around. – the ASP is back. The successful ones will be e-businesses on demand.