BLOGS: Where do you stand in the Open Web vs Closed Internet debate?
TechnoLlama has a fascinating and worrying comment on “The open Web vs the closed Internet”. It suggests that ‘the battle for the future of the Internet is taking place right now’, and asks ‘Where do you stand?’.
On the one hand we have the anarchic, chaotic but essentially free (in both spirit and cost) internet we have known so far. But on the other hand we have those who are trying to close it down and own it so that they can charge us to use it: what TechnoLlama calls the ‘Jobsian future’ (Steve Jobs, not JobsWorth, of course). Think of what Jobs is already doing: music for the iconic iPod can only be got from him; apps for the iconic iPhone and iPad can only be bought from him. And where he leads, others will follow.
The Apple Internet is a very different place to that which we know, in this vision of the future your browser will be the least important element of your daily interaction with the Internet. In this future, you will open your mobile device (smart phone or iPad), you will read your daily newspaper through a paid app (The Times, The Guardian, NYT), you will also browse the magazines through an app (Wired, The Economist), then you will read your Twitter feed through TweetDeck, check your email through yet another app, plan your route to work using the Google Maps app, and then get to work and read books with the e-book reader app of your choice. During this process, you will not have touched the browser once.
And don’t expect help from governments. They want a closed internet as much as Jobs does; not so much on commercial grounds as on political control grounds. So it’s time to decide. As TechnoLlama asks: ‘Where do you stand?’ If you stand for an open and free internet, you may need to act now. Whenever there is a choice, choose the open source option: Android or other rather than iPhone; Linux rather than Windows; Firefox rather than IE, Safari or Chrome. In many cases it may simply be ‘anything but Apple’. But don’t let the Jobsian future take root by default.