We're in Wired this (where "this" = next) month. Therein we are referred to as "the nerd gnomes in Beacon Hill." This is, in fact, an improvement. At the beginning of my career in software I worked at That Software Giant in Redmond™ on their initial foray into the internet, MSN 1.0. Wired did an article in which they likened we happy few original web developers to the million monkeys typing randomly on tiny keyboards. So now I am, professionally speaking, a gnome. The metaphors grow ever more humanoid.
There isn't a ton in this article that I haven't already covered here at The Odds Are One over the last couple of years (oh please, Wired: web services hype is soooo 2006). I haven't yet mentioned Amazon DevPay in this space, which is weird on account of in most of the Web Service things I announce the launch of I am only peripherally involved, whereas DevPay took up my entire life until it launched last December. DevPay is a billing application wherein you the developer create a software product that runs on Amazon's Web Services, then we sign up and bill your customers on your behalf. The concept is actually pretty cool, and like the rest of Web Services, if it turns out to be a killer app, the thing it's going to kill is venture capital.
Amazon (and Google, Yahoo, and IBM, who aren't wasting any time getting into the space either) is taking away the big upfront IT costs: you want to run a business that's going to need four high-powered servers just to get going? You don't need to spend $10,000 on hardware and $100,000 a year on a sysadmin just to get off the ground. You rent the space from Amazon for $0.40 an instance/hour and $0.10 a Gigabyte/month. When you want to get bigger, you rent more space (AWS even gives you a volume discount). We are hoping, it seems, to provide the big guns for the revolution, and then to watch the little guys fire them off.