The worldwide web at 25: business' window on the world

What are businesses making of an invention many CIOs dismissed as a gimmick?

Web access has become more liberalised, perhaps because of the way the web has been integrated into business applications and increasingly, the devices we use to do our work.

The more forward-thinking enterprise software companies were quick to realise that a web browser provided a convenient, and cost effective, front end for their applications.

This, in turn, provided the foundations for cloud-based applications, or software as a service, and freed application developers from their focus on the PC as the client hardware.

Instead, Berners-Lee's invention made the web browser the client. And the browser's flexibility has helped those applications make the journey to mobile devices, especially tablets but also smart TVs, games consoles and even inventions such as Google Glass. The potential to transform business further still is vast.

CIOs can be forgiven for failing to predict the web's future: even Sir Tim concedes that he never expected it to transform computing in the way it has. But the next time a left-field idea comes out of a research lab, remember: it could well be the future of business.

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT Pro.

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