* April 1, 2004: Gmail launches in a private beta and starts to offer 1 GB of free storage. * May 13, 2004: Yahoo increases the free storage from 4 MB to 100 MB. In 2005, Yahoo Mail's free storage grows to 1GB and now it's "unlimited".
* August 25, 2005: Google Talk launches. "Built to support industry standards, Google Talk enables Google users to connect to the Google Talk service and exchange IMs using any client that does the same, including Trillian, Adium, iChat, GAIM, and Psi." * October 12, 2005: "Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced a landmark agreement to connect users of their consumer instant messaging (IM) services on a global basis. The industry's first interoperability agreement between two distinct leading global consumer IM providers will give MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger users the ability to interact with each other, forming what is expected to be the largest consumer IM community in the world, estimated to be more than 275 million strong."
* July 2007: To bid for the 700MHz spectrum in the US, Google asks four conditions, the most important being to allow people to use any application and any device (these two conditions were accepted). * November 27, 2007: Verizon Wireless announces "that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company".
* November 2, 2007: Google launches OpenSocial, "a set of common APIs that make it easy to create and host social applications on the web". * December 13, 2007: Facebooks opens its application platform. "Now we also want to share the benefits of our work by enabling other social sites to use our platform architecture as a model. In fact, we’ll even license the Facebook Platform methods and tags to other platforms."
At the end of the day, it's not important if your product doesn't win when your offerings can make changes for everyone.