The Times Online has a great articles on big three technology companies, Apple, MySpace and Nokia, and their decisions to open up their web platforms and allow other parties develop services that leverage their platforms.
This decision is long over due. In this day and age, I find it amazing that many of these large internet and telecoms companies are still stuck in the mindset that they need to close and protect their web platforms, and develop all the services in-house. Another example are phone companies that refuse to allow third parties access to the customers and instead prefer to provide all content themselves.
This is a bad idea in many aspects. The biggest reason though is that there is absolutely no way the companies can come up with unlimited content and other innovations for their customers. At the same time, customers will continue to demand more and more from these sites, and eventually, if they don’t get what they want, they will simply abandon these sites for those that offer what they want.
Take the example of Firefox browser. The fact that the developers allow user to build and install their own extensions and add-ins makes Firefox a very powerful browser. And this fact alone make Firefox a very compelling browser for me to use. I have downloaded a large number of extensions that I use often and makes my browser experience much more enjoyable and efficient. If I don’t like the way my browser looks, I simply install a more appealing theme. I really don’t like IE7. I think its really ugly and not very extensible. Yet there are some websites that require the use of IE. The funny thing here is that there is a Firefox add-in that allows me to open web pages in IE within the Firefox browser.
In the same way, and even more so, I do believe that many of these tech companies, that target mass customers need to have the same sort of mindset if they want to continue to grow and attract new customers.
They need to tear down the walled gardens they have maintained and open up to third party developers and other companies…