John Gruber absolutely eviscerates this article by Tim Wu of The New Yorker.
Wu made the all-too-common mistake of reaching a conclusion first and then trying to contort facts to make his thesis work. It does not. In any way. The “open” vs. “closed” nonsense Wu is trying to sell falls almost immediately with the very existence of Linux and well, even the history of Apple itself — Gruber:
Even more telling, and more damning to Wu’s use of this as a case study, is that soon after Windows 95, Apple radically opened up the Mac OS, in a use of the word “open” that Wu expressly states is what he means by the term: they licensed the OS to other PC makers to produce Mac clones. This was the most open decision — in Wu’s sense of the word open — in the entire history of Apple Computer Inc.
And it nearly bankrupted the company.
That’s about 700 words in, the next 3,000 words simply ad insult to injury and should embarrass The New Yorker.
Gruber even gives Wu what should have been the correct thesis for this story:
Companies run by geniuses should generally do better than those which are not. That sounds about right.
Further, good products tend to trump not-as-good products — “open” vs. “closed” has very little to do with that. Shocking, I know.
Alibaba said that Acer “was notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android- related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner….We regret Google’s action.”
So much to say on this. For now, let’s just say that the words “terminate” and “open” should never go together.
This is a great post by Danny Sullivan. For those of us caught up in the iOS vs. Android battle, it can be easy to lose sight of the simple, bigger picture.
Android may be “open” in the fact that other companies can use the source code and users who so desire (and know how) can root it. But from a pure consumer perspective, the Android phone ecosystem is often anything but open. It’s a huge fucking nightmare — as has been showcased once again by the release of Ice Cream Sandwich.
How weird is it that Google just released a new flagship OS and is going on and on about how great it is, but the vast majority of users have absolutely no access to it? Worse, most have absolutely no clue when — or if — they’ll ever have access to it. This sounds like pretty much the opposite of being “open” to me.
Even stranger, this even includes the devices given Google’s own stamp of approval. Writes Sullivan:
iOS isn’t on the list, but Apple has never claimed that it’s “open”.
it’s unclear what would possess Google to selectively block access to applications at a carrier’s whim after it put over $4.6 billion on the line simply to ensure that the 700MHz spectrum’s open access provisions went into effect.
I don’t think it’$ unclear at all — there’s now a lot more than $4.6 billion at stake.
Nice job by This is my next to go just below the surface to call out this hypocrisy that most would overlook at first glance. You have to know the history to really understand why all this “open” rhetoric we’ve been fed for years is so infuriating.
At one point it did mean something — something potentially amazing. Change. An end to carrier control and domination.
Now, it’s just pure bullshit that Google keeps spewing for marketing purposes.