Enough with the Appstore model

Doc Searls has quite a lot to say about the Apple Appstore in a blog post which centred around yet another application that Apple decided not to allow into there store, for reasons which are frankly questionable.

Apple’s App Store is an eWorld that succeeded. A nice big walled garden. Problem is, censorship isn’t good gardening. It is, says Corynne, “not just anti-competitive, discriminatory, censorial, and arbitrary, but downright absurd.” Or, as my very tasteful wife puts it, unattractive.

From Corynne’s post

iPhone owners who don’t want Apple playing the role of language police for their software should have the freedom to go elsewhere. This is precisely why EFF has asked the Copyright Office to grant an exemption to the DMCA for jailbreaking iPhones. It’s none of Apple’s business if I want an app on my phone that lets me read EFF’s RSS feed, use Sling Player over 3G, or read the Kama Sutra.

In the end, Apple backed down and reversed the decision but without putting on my Apple bashing hat on, this troubles me. If Microsoft did this to Windows Mobile, I would jack them in and move to something more open such as Android. There is some merit to a appstore and I'll give Apple credit for popularising the idea which had been tried elsewhere before. But at some point a open model has got to make a lot of sense. I was listening to Ryan Block on a podcast today talking about the Palm Pre. One of the comments he had about the iphone appstore was the amount of crap there is in it. He says he generally doesn't even bother looking through it anymore, instead he relies on the recommendations of friends and family. This model is exactly what I told the Windows mobile team in Mix09. People show a app and then can exchange the app to there friend via bluetooth, mms, etc. I'm not saying the experience of bluetooth is great but it works and totally breaks the wall of the appstore model. So much, that Microsoft as well as Apple have had to tighten up the appstore model to refuse any alternatives models and worst still nanny its audience.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.