Too tired of 2.0

First the "next wave" moniker was clever, then it was useful. Now it's just plain annoying

Are you as tired as I am of hearing any new development referred to as “2.0”? Suddenly every journalist with a point to make (and a deadline to meet) has gotten the fever: SOA 2.0, Mobility 2.0, Microsoft 2.0, even China 2.0 and India 2.0. And that’s not counting the ubiquitous, if defensible, references to Web 2.0.

Enough already. The label 2.0 has become so overused that it is now a tic, a reflex action, a device that gets trotted out because someone thinks it sounds both hip and techie. And it did — for a while. Now it’s tired.

Before you accuse me of rejecting a perfectly useful term just because I’m weary of pallid imitators, let me go on the record as saying that I’m OK with the label Web 2.0. True, the moniker — coined by Tim O’Reilly — is a tad squishy. But it’s a useful shortcut, a handy way to talk about online apps and services that share certain common characteristics, whether collaborative features, open APIs, or rich Web UIs. So Web 2.0 is in the canon.

Ditto for Business 2.0, mostly because it has precedence on its side. From what I can tell, no one had used the 2.0 suffix in its current sense before 1998, when Business 2.0 magazine sprang to life, its mission to cover the Internet-fueled “new economy.” (The phrase, by the way, is invariably pronounced “two-point-oh,” not “two-dot-oh,” because it draws its inspiration from software revision cycles, as in Netscape Navigator 2.0, not from the dot-crazy online world.)

But SOA 2.0, a label now being championed by Oracle and Gartner, is just plain silly. As InfoWorld’s Real World SOA blogger Dave Linthicum puts it, “SOA is an architectural concept, not a software product, and to put a version number on something like that just shows that you don’t understand the notion in the first place. Indeed, SOA is a journey, not a project or product.” If you agree with Linthicum, you might want to sign “Stop the madness!” -- an online petition that hopes to stop the SOA 2.0 meme in its tracks.

Then there’s Microsoft 2.0, an era apparently ushered in by Bill Gates’ recent announcement that he was hitting the road. I’m not buying it. If there ever were a Microsoft 2.0, it was back in the days of Windows 95 (or maybe even Windows 3.1). I’m guessing we must be up to at least Microsoft 5.0 by now.

And what about the suddenly omnipresent India 2.0 — a locution meant to reflect the offshore powerhouse’s attempt to take the next step up in development? Last I checked, India is more than 5,000 years old, and I suspect that the country has managed to reinvent itself more than once over those five millennia. Ditto for China, which has a 4,000-year pedigree, yet according to Newsweek and others, is primed for its first full upgrade.

It’s time to halt any new 2.0 coinages. And let’s not call that Moratorium 2.0.


Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.