I recently suggested that the English secretly prefer being failures, as we enjoy complaining about our failures and belittling the vulgarities of those who are successful, and that, while this is particularly true in the sporting field, in IT and Web development we find it easier to criticise successful services rather than to exploit their successes.

But on a day in which England have, against all the odds, succeeded in beating South Africa to become the Rugby Union World Cup champions, I think it is timely to revisit the successful Web services – and to draw some parallels with world champion sporting teams.

Apache is an obvious example. And Apache must be the Brazil of Web software: it’s the people’s champion and the favourite of the neutrals.

Microsoft, in contrast, has to be (from an English perspective, at least) Germany: dull, methodical, lacking in flair, but you just know that you mustn’t write them off, as they often do well.

As for Facebook, well this has been a real surprise over the past few years. Nobody expected it to do so well, but, in its own way, it has its admirers. Just like England’s rugby union team, I would suggest. And it is appropriate the England should be the holders of the Webb Ellis trophy 🙂

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