Dan Gillmor

Apple's Shortsighted Lock-In

Will Shipley: iPhone & iPod: contain or disengage?

But with the iPod Touch, what’s Apple’s excuse for locking up the platform? Why can’t I write programs for this device? Who might it hurt? Why is Steve announcing that he’s playing cat-and-mouse with developers who intend to do so? Is Apple so far removed from its customers that even when the latter overwhelming votes for extending a device (by downloading iPhone programs in the hundreds of thousands), Apple’s response is, “No, you can’t do that. We know what you want, you don’t. You want AJAX apps, you just don’t know it yet.”

That sure reminds me of the old, crappy Apple. The one that almost went bankrupt because of its hubris.

I don’t write programs for Apple because I worship Apple. I write programs for them because they have the best development environment. But I’ve always said that I will move from the platform the day Apple starts acting like a monopoly — trying to make money by using its marketing position to extort money from users, instead of innovating so quickly that users willing throw money at Apple.

Apple’s control-freakery is more than inconvenient for customers and potential partners. It’s insulting, and counterproductive.

I still use a Mac because it’s the best tool for the job — and because it’s infinitely extensible. But I won’t consider an iPhone or iPod Touch until the company lets go of its insistence that Apple, not the customers, are in charge. That may be never. Too bad for Apple, which is losing a customer.