Tuesday, July 21, 2009
iPhone Irritations. Or, Why Apple is Llike the Soviet Union
InfoWorld has a great article on the irritations incurred by one developer who tried to get a simple program approved for Apple's iPhone.
This, in a nutshell, is the problem with the iPhone, and, as I've written before. It's not that the centralized review process doesn't have some advantages, but it comes at a big cost. In addition to developers' resistance to heavily investing in an app that has a high chance of being rejected for arbitrary reasons, there's also the reality that Apple will kill (and probably already does) some iPhone apps only because they compete with similar and possibly lesser programs Apple *might* release down the road. Apple's deliberate monopolization of what can and cannot be installed on an iPhone cannot help but limit competition among iPhone tools and utilities, which in turn inevitably stifles innovation within that platform. And as TFA notes, centralized governing/approval processes have a long history of scaling very poorly and sometimes disastrously. Windows would have very little market share if every ISV had to get MS's explicit permission before getting its programs to install on Windows.
It might take two or three years, but there's little doubt in my mind that the iPhone will lose any utility advantage it has to other, more open phones, and its market share will go with it.