Ushered by the recent ESPN API shutdown, this article by Andy Thurai of IBM tracks the API industry at large to make predictions about the future of the API economy.
ESPN, Netflix, and the healthcare API Aetna have all scheduled to cut their public API programs. According to Thurai, this is being done purely to increase monetization and control. Reasons for these cuts may include a lack of target user audience or an inability to structure data effectively to generate revenue. Strategies are moving away from experimental innovation toward more proven revenue models, and often public APIs are the first thing to go.
In addition to public APIs losing steam, related changes are restricting 3rd party developers. Twitter’s API 2.0 has increased restrictions, according to Thurai, only to enhance Twitter’s own agenda. In general, Thurai predicts a continued descrease in public distribution and a focus on internal private partner consumption.