Home > Archive >  2008 >  September >  13

Why iPhone is an ureliable platform

Saturday, September 13, 2008 by Dave Winer.

I wouldn't invest in or develop an iPhone app because Apple could decide not to approve it, and if they don't approve it you can't sell it. You can't even give it away. You don't find out if you've been approved until the last step, after you've fully invested, so you could lose, totally, if Apple says no. Permalink to this paragraph

At first this might have seemed ridiculous if you didn't know Apple, you might assume they'd only keep out apps that somehow damaged the iPhone, but it hasn't turned out that way.  Permalink to this paragraph

Yesterday it came out that they rejected an app called Podcaster because it competed with iTunes, an Apple product. Maybe it was better than iTunes in some way, or simpler, more focused, had features iTunes didn't have? It doesn't matter, it illustrates exactly why Apple shouldn't assume this power, or if they insisit on it, you'd have to be crazy to develop iPhone apps.  Permalink to this paragraph

Consider this possibility. Next year Apple announces an app that does what your previously authorized iPhone app does. You have competition, so another competitor, even if it is the platform vendor, isn't that big a deal, right? Well what if they de-authorize your app because it duplicates functionality of theirs? Think you could live with that? Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named obama.jpgThe same thing came up less clearly at BearHugCamp yesterday when the Twitter guys stood up and let us try to pin them down on when they were going to re-open the XMPP gateway. If features come and go from platforms, if policies change in unpredictable ways, there's no way you can invest. If someone had built on the XMPP capability previously and it had been turned off (this is a hypothetical, it didn't happen that way) what recourse would they have had? Because Twitter has been such a moving target this last year, many of the apps have fallen off, because they depend on features in Twitter that have become unreliable or have disappeared altogether. Permalink to this paragraph

Thirteen years ago I wrote a piece entitled What is a Platform? Perhaps it should be amended to say that if you need the approval of the platform vendor to ship an app, then it isn't a platform. It's an integrity thing. The idea that it's a platform should mean no individual or company has the power to turn you off.  Permalink to this paragraph

In the same timeframe I marveled at how the Internet is the platform without a platform vendor. That's the most powerful kind of platform there is because it is the least regulated. Permalink to this paragraph


Recent stories:

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

Dave Winer Mailto icon

My most recent trivia on Twitter.

© Copyright 1994-2008 Dave Winer Mailto icon.

Last update: 12/16/2008; 5:22:12 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

Click here to view blogs commenting on  RSS 2.0 feed.