Hugh Pickens writes writes "Cade Metz writes that Sam Ramji, the former head of open source at Microsoft, has a new Silicon Valley startup called Apigee that builds and operates APIs — Application Programming Interfaces — for companies like AT&T, NetFlix, and Comcast that let companies connect themselves to as many applications as possible — and ultimately reinvent the way they do business. There was a time when APIs were just a way of building applications for a desktop operating system like Microsoft Windows but in the age of the internet, they have the power to plug applications into almost anything. “For so many years, people saw data as a proprietary advantage, but now we have this wave of companies that want to give it away for free,” says Ramji. AT&T ended up joining forces with Apigee, building APIs that let outside software developers build phone and tablet applications that do everything from sending text messages across the AT&T cellular network to charging payments straight to a user’s monthly AT&T bill. By December 2011, the telecom giant was handling 4.6 billion API calls a month on its network, and Donovan believes that number will reach 10 billion by the end of 2012. AT&T hasn’t quite figured out all the ways its APIs will drive revenue, but after years of keeping its network closed to outside applications, AT&T believes this change can only improve its position. “HTTP is ubiquitous. Every language on every device has libraries that know how to act as an HTTP client,” adds Ramji whose goal is a world where any API works anywhere. “This is true openness in APIs: using standard, open, free technologies to offer your data and services. The huge benefit of this is that without any additional effort, any device you’ve imagined — or not — has the capability of accessing your API.”"