We need some angry nerds.
Jonathan Zittrain, Technology Review. The Personal Computer is Dead.
Jonathan Zittrain, whose 2008 book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It explores the transformation of the open Internet to one that’s increasingly closed and controlled, writes that the growth of “App Stores” is putting too much technological and content control in the hands of too few companies.
The companies, Zittrain argues, are gatekeepers that lock us into platforms and the way we access content as they lock other content and technologies out.
“If I switch from iPhone to Android, I can’t take my apps with me, and vice versa,” writes Zittrain. “And as content gets funneled through apps, it may mean I can’t take my content, either—or, if I can, it’s only because there’s yet another gatekeeper like Amazon running an app on more than one platform, aggregating content. The potentially suffocating relationship with Apple or Google or Microsoft is freed only by a new suitor like Amazon, which is structurally positioned to do the same thing.”
And doing the same thing is to have an “App Store Framework” of their own where they can lock in or lock out applications and content.
“But the fact that apps must routinely face approval masks how extraordinary the situation is,” writes Zittrain. “Tech companies are in the business of approving, one by one, the text, images, and sounds that we are permitted to find and experience on our most common portals to the networked world. Why would we possibly want this to be how the world of ideas works, and why would we think that merely having competing tech companies—each of which is empowered to censor—solves the problem?”
Nokia’s share of the world mobile browsing market shows remarkable disparity, and this chart from iCrossing provides good insight into why the Finnish handset giant made a deal with Microsoft to start running Windows Phone 7 on its devices.
Nokia’s Symbian OS runs nearly half of all phones in Tunisia, and in Egypt, this figure climbs to 80 percent, but figure is quite anemic in much of Western Europe, the U.S. and other mature markets.
PaidContent has more analysis:
—Microsoft’s Windows Phone does not have a big enough marketshare in any one market to make it into the charts. For that matter, neither does webOS.
—Nokia (NYSE: NOK) dominates by wide margins in developing markets, but in mature markets Nokia is either too small to make it into the rankings, or it is low on the list. It’s striking how consistent that is, and it makes one wonder if the company should be pursuing something more dual as a strategy, opting for Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) in those markets where it has nothing to lose, and staying with its familiar products where they are still going strong.
As far as dowries go, Nokia’s gift to Microsoft has the potential to make for a happy marriage. With no discernible presence in the mobile browser space for Microsoft, this is an especially gutsy move, and potentially disastrous for Nokia.