The Future of the Internet…. and the Black Pearl of Freedom

// April 18th, 2012 // Apple, iknode, microsoft, open source

Back when I was in college I was a Linux buff. I had 3 machines and all of them had different Linux distros. I contributed to Gnome and gave free copies of debian and redhat to everybody I knew. As I grew up, I noticed how Microsoft started to become more open, and started paying more attention to its products. Microsoft started softening to open source. I was actually relieved, because everything was not so Black and white, like I thought. Now, Microsoft is loosing grounds, and Apple is taking over. Apple is and has been a lot more closed than anybody in the industry’s history, not only on source code, but also on tactics.

I feel like we are going back in time. Instead of Microsoft and Google taking Open Source to the top, Apple, is taking everything back 20 years. It feels like all the advancement in the industry is lost. Microsoft is definitely loosing relevance, but Google might still be able to pull it off.

I am a big fan of Larry Page, but mostly of Sergey Brin. Their vision makes sense. It is a strategy of business with freedom. They might not be as ‘not-evil’ as they used to be, but the ideals are still there.

Sergey Brin did an interview where he spoke about the open web. How the current ecosystem is becoming too closed. Companies like Google, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon would not be able to survive in this environment. Even thought Sergey mentions governments as part of the problem, I believe the problem is concentrated on the companies inside the industry. It has become a monopoly-friendly ecosystem. The industry and the government have not been able to set protections for another Microsoft to rise. And the problem is, it already has, and this time is going to be worse. It is Apple.

Nobody notices what is going on in the industry right now. How can a closed ecosystem exist in this era, where open source, freedom and open apis coexist ? It makes me think that maybe freedom is not that important. Comments like this one, make me think that even people I respect are blind to the situation.

The comment is missing the whole point. It is open because NOT ONLY Google can search through it and sell ads against it, in fact is not the only one. It is not about how Google dominates the search market. Because the biggest difference is that Google can be beaten any time by a worthy competitor, Apple can’t. Apple created its own ecosystem, effectively locking out competition. Only Apple can decide what happens in the App Store and in their devices. Google, actually provides a service, which works in the open. Google hasn’t been beaten, not because is the only one that can search through content and sell ads against it, it is because Google does it better.

I believe it is stupid how many people think Apple products are perfect, and lack the understanding that even thought they are quality products, they are on par with the industry. We have been hearing about how Macs are invulnerable to viruses. That idea is not only wrong, is naive. Macs are more vulnerable than Windows. Microsoft has been really good lately at securing the operating system. It is still not perfect but it is way better than Macs.

It seems Apple solution to security is lockdown. They seem to be taking MacOS to a model just like iOS, where only apps from the App store can be installed. They believe that the way to security is removal of freedom.

Segey Brin added more comments this morning through his Google+ account. He focuses more on governments, and leaves Apple and Facebook out of the picture. And even thought I agree with Sergey that governments have too much power now over the internet, I still think the main threat comes from companies like Apple and Facebook.

The whole idea of Freedom is what brought me to create iKnode. I call it my Black Pearl. When we started we saw all these companies like Parse, Kinvey and Stackmob focusing on mobile, specially iOS. And after the market analysis, it does makes sense. But we strongly believe in the Web and the future of it for organizations and software developers; so we put all of our efforts in the Web. We still consider mobile as part of our business model, but the Web is our primary focus.

I believe in the power of freedom, and I believe it is in the web. It is not about opening your source code, it is about allowing innovation to happen freely, and to be able to create an ecosystem where my daughter can be able  to create the next Google.

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