Mapquest had a multi-year head start on Google Maps and Yahoo Maps, yet it’s massively losing marketshare to Google and Yahoo.
Blankenhorn’s reasoning is correct, Mapquest decided on it’s own satellite imagery wasn’t useful enough, they don’t open their source code to application developers, and they have other closed methods which classify them of a typical Web 1.0 company.
Google and Yahoo have let the users decide what is useful, they’ve opened up their source code and created APIs so that developers could make sites and applications using their technology. These “Web 2.0” strategies and technologies have allowed them to rapidly gain and pass Mapquest, and I think it’s probably clear that eventually Mapquest will just be gone.
What are the lessons here?
1. Open things up.
2. Use your userbase to figure out what they want, not necessarily what they think you want.
4. Google and Yahoo have transformed from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 companies, and Microsoft is coming as well. Those three are poised to dominate, and continue to fight it out.