In its ideal implementation, the microcontent browser is a combination of a desktop software application and well-designed web services, interacting together to parse our existing HTML, XHTML, and XML documents into tomorrow's semantic web.
It feels a little bit like we're finally working on the future we imagined a decade ago — Anil wrote this essay in November 2002. Here's another hilarious thing about this essay — Anil presages Readability's business model nine years before it was launched:
There's also a host of potential business models. The microcontent client could bootstrap micropayments by being purchased on a subscription basis that included several web services as part of its basic toolset. Vendors could tap into the client's payment database to offer additional services for incremental fees. A percentage of the annual cost for the client could be allotted to an escrow fund, doling out payments to sites that offered properly-authored microcontent.
You can see the humblest beginnings of the next iteration of this model with Maura Magazine and The Awl. I think there's a huge potential in using subscription apps like ours to open up a channel with your audience, to whom you can offer other products and offers. This might take the form of a print edition (in Maura's case) or something completely different — web versions of the magazines, events, other apps, or even a reader-produced version of the magazine, Sassy-style!