I've wanted to mention copycat services since the last IASA meeting and the chat some of us had over Pizza afterwards. We were talking about web services and I was on one about value chains and how these could drive standards.

In the case of successful value chains (where there is money) there will by copycats; services that mimic your APIs and support similar functions, and more importantly, innovate further and reduce the margins. This on one level will drive a standard through that particular value chain. In so doing you are developing a market for competition which will ultimately drive the service or business function towards being a commodity so further increasing the market for consumption of the service.

I guess that this is really a standard trade dynamic, which I am sure goes way back in time. One guy suggested the analogy of the "IBM PC", now, the "PC" which is available from a myriad of vendors. This was quickly followed by the example of the "Hoover" - it wasn't that long ago that his parents would talk about their "Hoover" but now we can buy a vacuum cleaner from any of a 100 or vendors or so. These are all examples of innovation that when successful migrate to the centre as a commodity.

In the world of services this comoditisation will be dramatic, like a wildfire as the virtual world has no physical boundaries. Copycat services will be instrumental in shaping these markets, broadening their apeal and so driving them towards the maturity of a commodity.