Back in April 2008 I published a blog post entitled “The Rise and Fall of Apache?” which described the sharp decline in use of the Apache Web server software – and the corresponding growth in use of Microsoft’s server software.

This led to a debate as to whether the figures gave an accurate picture, with Mike Nolan, Phil Cunningham, Stephen Downes and Phil Wilson pointing out some flaws in the statistics, outlining some of the complexities of the server environment and commenting on another set of figures which showed that the numbers of active Web sites using Apache was still growing, unlike the numbers for Microsoft.

Well the figures six months later show that the relative numbers of Web servers provided by Apache and Microsoft have stabilised, as shown below.

Netcraft Findings, Feb 2008

And I’m sure we will also find that these figures will continue to be interpreted in various ways, with marketing departments for Microsoft and Apache (if such a beast topamax online exists) and proponents for the two products using the same data to justify their own preferences.

But I also suspect that we’ll see similar responses being taken to graphs for a whole host of Web 2.0 services, including services often mentioned in this blog such as Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, etc. Indeed a tweet by Dion Hitchcliffe alerted me to a post on The Poverty of Social Networks and the Death of Web 2.0 which argued that “It is safe now to say that “Web 2.0” is dead. The evidence is irrefutable …“.

We do need to monitor such trends, especially when we are using services to support important activities. But let’s remember that the discussion often starts with the figures. The evidence is often not irrefutable and open to discussion and debate – as many of the comments to Peter Schwartz’s post on the death of Web 2.0 has demonstrated.