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Web 2.0: Obsolete within three years?

I'm not talking about Joe Schmo. This is Steve Perlman, and he's not all that convinced that the state of the art has staying power.

SAN FRANCISCO--One of the biggest booths at the Web 2.0 Expo here belongs to a very un-Web 2.0-ish kind of guy.

Remember Steve Perlman? He's one of those tech wunderkinds who piled up a laundry list of achievements over the last couple of decades--to the point where their predictions about technology carry more weight than most mere mortals. In his case, the highlights include leading the Apple development team whose technology led to QuickTime and later co-founding WebTV (later sold to Microsoft for a half billion or so.)

Steve Perlman

Perlman has been working at Rearden, an incubation firm he founded in 2000 that has some cool companies in its network, including Mova and Moxi Digital. Perlman was at Web 2.0 to show the corporate flag and sign up new talent. Though neither he nor his team would say what was on deck, they were playing it up as quite a big deal.

"At least two of the technologies we have are getting ripe on the vine," he said. The big tease. (By the way, Tom Paquin, who ran engineering at Netscape, does the same at Reardon.)

Interestingly, Perlman isn't very impressed by most of what falls under the rubric of "Web 2.0." Coming from someone with his technical pedigree, I was intrigued when he added: "Most of what you see here will be obsolete in three or four years."

Unfortunately, I was already running late when he offered those bons mots at the end of my interview and didn't have enough time to get into that. Hopefully, I can reconnect at the company's party this evening.

I did manage to catch up with Perlman. Here's what he had to say (over the din of a pounding electric-muzak like attack on our eardrums.)

"What we've been seeing is a huge change in the way people manage their data and the way applications handle data. We've been working on the assumption that the gold standard for communications was a 1.5 megabit T-1 line. Like, you had it made! Well, today, that just sucks. Most people can get 3 to 6 megabits. So you're seeing richer flash animations on pages and that's beginning to change the way people think about stuff."

Such as?

"They're adding new things as the Web becomes richer. But a lot of the sites you see out there tend to be very static. You go from one static page to another static page. They may call themselves Web 2.0 but it's Web 1.0 in terms of interactivity....I was walking around the floor (at the conference) and asking myself, `Where is the video?' It's not there. And that's going to have repercussions."