Cell Phone Carriers: Tear Down That Wall

from the lock-in:-bad dept

People have been saying it for ages, it hasn't changed the short-term thinking of many carriers. Locking mobile phones, both for switching the phone itself to a new carrier and in terms of what applications can go on that phone, is bad for business. The carriers are taking an "operator knows best" strategy to the market, where only they can possibly know what you might want to do with the phone. They're discouraging innovative applications, since only they can approve them. They're discouraging innovative uses, since people can't discover for themselves what the phones may be useful for. They're slowing down adoption by making the phones less useful. The short term thinking, of course, is that they want control. They want control over whether or not you leave them for a competitor, or whether or not you leave their for-fee service and applications for others. However, they're not serving their customers. Customers want open systems. Open systems encourage innovative uses that drive demand. Opening up the phones and opening up the platforms provides carriers with more opportunities to profit, by allowing customers to find even more useful things they can do with the phone. One of these days, maybe the decision makers will get the message. The article linked here talks about a lawsuit to force carriers to open up -- but no matter what the outcome of the lawsuit is, it's in the carriers' own best interests to open up and provide customers with the opportunity to make mobile phones much more useful.
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