Update 4/3/08: This is the official word from ESRI:
ESRI is restructuring its Web services program to reflect our new technology and the relationships we are creating with a number of new technology partners. We are basically shifting our focus from geo-services for developers (the ArcWeb vision based on ArcIMS) to geo-services focused on helping ArcGIS end users and developers (based on ArcGIS Server). We will continue supporting ArcWeb users and the platform into the future, but we are shifting our emphasis to ArcGIS Server. Most people will see this as a kind of technology upgrade to a more modern platform for the Web 2.0 environment.
The new services are called ArcGIS Online and are already being used externally by ArcGIS Desktop users and as a foundation for ArcGIS Explorer. These services are divided into core services that are free to our desktop, explorer and server users, and premium services that will be priced similar to ArcWeb.
Regarding existing application operations built on ArcWeb, we will continue supporting the existing ArcWeb platform and customers for several years, while at the same time introducing new opportunities with the ArcGIS Server platform at 9.3. Existing customers can renew their ArcWeb Services subscription and buy more credits. New users can contact ESRI Professional Services to explore whether they wish to use ArcWeb or ArcGIS to develop their solutions. Our Professional Services division was involved in the ArcWeb Services implementations and will continue to build solutions on that platform.
The ArcGIS 9.3 platform will introduce many new and exciting opportunities. Further details will be provided as we complete this transition.
Update 4/1/08: ESRI replied to my query of 3/24/08 today saying essentially, “we’ll get back to you.”
—- original post 3/24/08——
Steven Citron-Pousty, who works for DeCarta, notes this in his blog. He cites the ESRI ArcWeb services site itself, noting visitors can not sign up for the services, only renew. His point: best move on to something else, like the DeCarta’s services.
There’s little mention of ArcWeb services from the coverage of the ESRI Dev Summit last week; I found just this mention of reps from the team in a session. And, ArcWeb services are not mentioned in the Dev Summit FAQ.
I need a bit more proof. If anything ESRI has done quite a bit to be more transparent to its users and developers in recent years. The cited change on the ArcWeb website and “confirmation” by an anonymous commenter on Citron-Pousty’s blog do not a fact make. Perhaps ESRI is revamping the registration process? Changing the pricing? Not ready to share how the services be offered in another way. I’ll let you know what I learn. I’ve got an e-mail in to ESRI on the matter.