Apple’s Open-ness

Just a quick thought that I’ve been meaning to write about but never do: Apple’s iPhone didn’t start out a closed ecosystem; as I remember, Apple fought the good “open” fight against all the developer and press grumblings when they announced their Web Apps strategy with the initial iPhone release.

All they heard was whining and how you couldn’t do anything modern with Web-based Apps. Too slow. No offline access. Not enough system-level controls/hooks.

So, they hunkered down, doubled back, and made the premiere “closed” App ecosystem. Sold like hotcakes. Got mobile curmudgeons to start thinking about mobile-dominant futures. Got 10-year-olds excited about programming. Made individual developers’ works available to the world with only a $99 budget.

And they’re now hated for not being “open.”

I’m not going to defend Apple, or get into whether Android is better because of it’s open nature. (I will say it looks like a rosy future for Android, though.) Me? I love Apple hardware and software (and their somewhat-open ecosystem), but am deeply troubled by their mobile ecosystem’s closed marketplace (in other words, not the store itself, but simply that I can’t side load software onto devices I own outright without Apple blessing it first).

So troubled that I’d get rid of my iPhone and iPad? Absolutely not. So zealous that I won’t consider Android? Nope, already have one, and will be an excited early adopter of Google TV.

The “open” argument will win against iPhone only as soon as Android marketshare and dollars start hurting Apple. I doubt Steve Jobs will spend much time listening to his critics a second time until then.



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