December 22, 2011

This side of Open!

Closed. Closed. Closed. Closed. Closed. Closed.

Every chance he gets, Techcrunch's M G Seigler tries to write there is something absolutely wrong with Google and their Android Platform. He did it again, this time trying to write about why Android is not as open as Google tells us. He says that a good percentage of Android Openness is marketing bullshit. In the process he ends up writing how being open is bad for Android than actually telling us how Android is a closed platform. Either MG is a confused Apple Fanboy or he thinks that his readers are fools. Either way, M G is not doing any good to the already fragile reputation of Techcrunch as a reliable tech blog.

If you read the write-up, you will immediately get that M G does not have a clue what openness is. Or may be, he is pretending that he does not know what 'openness' is. I do not know what drives him mad every time iOS dominance is questioned. One should read M G's post along with the post from Andy Rubin that "There are now over 700,000 Android devices activated every day" And the last time Apple spoke to us, only 275000 iOS devices were activated on average per day. Good for Google. Bad for Apple. But why should M G get paranoid about it?

For M G's benefit, let me give the definition of "Open Platform". Wikipedia defines it: "In software and web-based architectures, an Open platform describes a software system which is based on open standards, such as published and fully documented external programming interfaces that allow using the software to function in other ways than the original programmer intended, without requiring modification of the source code. Using these interfaces, typically known as an application programming interface (API), a 3rd party could integrate with the platform to add functionality. An Open Platform does not mean it is open source, however most Open Platforms has multiple implementations of its API."

To add insult to M G's injury, Android is Open Source as it is an "Open Platform". M G can get the source code from here and do what he wants with it without Google Legal suing him. That is exactly what Amazon did. That is exactly what Facebook can do if they want. And both companies need not include any Google Service to their implementation of Android. How is that bad for Google, when the very purpose of Android is to enable people to do what they want with their Mobile Operating System? Anyone can take it, anyone can make it! If people like it, they will buy it. If they find it useful, they will stick to it. There is nothing M G can do to change the 700,000 minds that decide to buy Android Phones every day.

M G is seriously wondering about the future of Google with Android. He says: "Imagine if Microsoft had open sourced Windows back then. Would they still have become the dominant player? Possibly, maybe even likely at first, but eventually it’s feasible that a competitor would have used their work as the basis for a better version of Windows. That’s the real risk Google is now facing." M G is talking as though he does not know what is Microsoft's status in the tech world today. If Google was not willing to open source Android, ten years down the line they will be a company like Microsoft, coming up with crap software for both PCs and Mobile Phones. Microsoft is what Microsoft is today because they limited the possibility of developing their software to the four walls of Microsoft. Because Google is willing to open source Android, we will have a Mobile Platform which is better than what it is today. People will work on it and make it better. If Google fails tomorrow, someone else will come up and take Android development forward. It will not anyway be limited to the skills and knowledge of  a few Google Engineers. Open Source is not a risk. It is an opportunity.  If M G doe not know, that is what people call "vision"

I use a Samsung Galaxy Tab, 7 inch. Now, Samsung is too lazy to give me the new Ice Cream Sandwich. But I already have Ice Cream Sandwich running my Tab. Why? Because Android is open and open sourced, developers are working hard to give the best to the community. And they have given me the best that is possible. It is in Alpha and that means they are working hard to make it better. ICS for the original Galaxy Tab is in Alpha Version and is available here. Perhaps, people like M G does not understand what it means to give to the community. Because, anyway, he is in love with a product which was made by a man who did not believe in giving to the community.

Imagine Amazon  wanting to try iOS as their platform instead of Android, because according to M G that is a much better platform. They can not. I know, it is a waste of time imagining that. Which means Jeff Bezoz will not think about Kindle Fire. Even if he did, it will take a long time for him to develop a new mobile platform. Even if he developed one, who knows, it may end up like WebOS. Because of Google and because of Android, the mobile world is becoming more open with more possibilities. There is nothing that M G can do to change that. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think of what
I wrote?