Friday, January 29, 2010

The Splinternet and how the iPad is pure evil

What a great term - the Splinternet. According to Forrester, this is where the Internet we know and love is going. And Apple is perpetuating the destruction for the free, open standards Internet with the iPad. (BTW, thanks to my wife, Melissa for pointing me to the Forrester report).

I chatted a little just before the launch of the iPad, (then it was just the Apple, let's guess the name, 'tablet') about how the iPad might be more than just a distraction to businesses, and may actually offer some value - given the right set of applications. Taking a look at the Xconomy discussion of how startups are targeting the iPad, I believe that its just a matter of the same-old stuff re-hashed on a bigger screen.

Apple is making the Splinternet a reality, since it is effectively a proprietary platform for building web apps - much like Microsoft Silverlight or Adobe Air on traditional PCs, just way more pervasive. The argument is that you can build far more engaging applications on these proprietary technologies, and that may be true. This hides a dark truth though. Developers are being guided into spending resources on building apps that are just reworks of the mobile website, locking otherwise freely available content into a proprietary interface. Oh no, Microsoft is not the only evil empire in the software business, and I wonder how long it will be before we see the equivalent of a really big EU led anti-trust campaign against Apple?

So as much as I want to be reading my daily newspaper on a big screen, does it really need to be a proprietary technology that prevents competitors from doing something better? Or just as profits stop accelerating, will Apple take the royalty route and start licensing the technology to third-party manufacturers? At that point, maybe the web and all its 'standards' will be dead.

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1 comment:

Teknolg said...

I agree, since it is clearer that Apple's strategy like many other giants is to melt away our cohesive Internet into cold islands of floating technological isolation. Ironically, these companies made their largest leaps in profit leveraging the open Internet framework of free solid protocols and standards that originally matured through a warm community effort.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Now we have selfish goals of technical domination at any price. Not to be the most profitable through innovation, as free markets reward; but to win by attrition, strong-arm exclusionary tactics, or buyouts.

Okay, so nothing new, and the competition for niche platforms is growing. Which means this problem is not slowing down; so the gap is widening in the "Splinternet".

The answer may be for developers to take their apps and free flowing creativity elsewhere. Not sure where yet, but the apps are what truly sustains attraction to these devices for consumers (after the first few hours).

If we did relocate, we reclaim the 30% Apple takes on each purchase and "Splinter-ers" would have nothing functionally significant to differentiate each other from (Apple, Droid, WinMobile?) with customers.

Does anyone agree to my cries for a "Homestead Act" on some "OpenMobile" device platform, or developer co-op somewhere?

..There's no place like home, there's no place like home ...