It may have taken the (very) long way to get there, but it looks like at least some folks over at Sony have figured out that openness can be a competitive advantage, and have decided to support the open ePub ebook format for its ebook reader
. Now, there are lots of caveats here. Amazon has effectively been able to capture the leadership position in this market, while Sony has languished, so partly this is a hail mary pass -- which we've seen happen elsewhere as well. And, of course, despite it being an open format and the fact that Sony is ditching its own DRM, the new format will still have Adobe DRM -- so this isn't a truly opened up solution, but it is a step. It may be difficult for Sony to recapture the lead in this market by this point, but it seems like that the open ebook platforms will only gain steam (and eventually Amazon will end up supporting it as well). It's the natural progression that we see over and over again
: a closed platform may help define the market, and then weaker competitors often circle around an open platform, realizing it's their only chance to fight back against the lock-in of the market leader. While it often takes some time, the open platforms do tend to get better and better, even to the point that the original leader is eventually forced to adopt it as well.