Thursday, July 17, 2008

On the Other Hand...

Yesterday I wrote about the potential of the iPhone to break the longstanding wireless app logjam in the U.S.

Today the Free Software Foundation blogs about the other logjam we might be getting into with the device, namely that the app development and publishing community is just as locked down and controlled as the DRM on iTunes tracks. Wait, actually the app side is even more locked down (since there's a low-tech path to extract songs by way of audio CDs, whereas the app infrastructure requires jailbreak).

I'm curious whether this passage from the FSF post will have the fanboys plugging their ears and whining "I can't hear you" or just shrugging their shoulders and saying "who cares":

"Apple, through its marketing and visual design techniques, is manufacturing an illusion that merely buying an Apple makes you part of an alternative community. But the technology they use is explicitly chosen to divide people into separate digital cells, and to position Apple as sole warden. When your business depends on people paying for the privilege of being locked up, the prison better look and feel luxurious, and the bars better not be too visible."

If not a prison, it's still a walled garden. Like Verizon's mobile app vending machine (odd are you've never even hard of that one) or the old America Online. Maybe it can work, but there are better alternatives.

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