Thursday, October 11, 2007

Quit Complaining

I get sick and tired of Web developers complaining about how closed they are finding the mobile space. I find the complaints ignorant and whiny. The arguments for the need for an open mobile ecosystem are not only shallow, but also obviously selfish and poorly disguised as idealism and altruism.

It is not that I do not believe in openness and opportunity for all. It is not like I do not realize that the consumer is who will benefit the most from access to a broader, more compelling, more discoverable, and price competitive range of services and applications. It is not like I do not perceive the potential that mobile has of surpassing the Internet in terms of availability and profitability of services and applications (in terms of reach, mobile has long gone surpassed the Web).

My dilemma is that as a capitalist I strongly believe that the parties who have invested heftily in laying down and maintaining infrastructure to connect the world are entitled to protect their investment to capture as much of the returns as possible. Carriers are also entitled to protect their physical assets from abuse, malice, and tear and wear. It is, however, also investors’ entitlement, if not their duty, to also maximize their ROI.

The problem I see in the carrier ecosystem is that by being so over protective and paranoid of opening the flood gates carriers may be selling themselves short. One major downfall of the walled garden is the stifled user adoption.

My call to action then to the Web developer community is to stop complaining. Instead, get your creativity juices flowing and think of ways to turn the situation around. It is time to develop innovative ways to show carriers ways to maximize their returns by opening up their platforms, and forcing OEM’s towards a less fragmented device platform environment. Successful models will be those in which all carriers, OEMs, developers, and end-consumers alike will reap benefits.

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