Rethinking Walled Gardens, But Coming To The Same Conclusion

from the eh,-no dept

It's become dogma among many that the 'Walled Garden' approach to the web is a failed idea, with AOL being the classic case. So it's interesting to see that some are challenging this idea on the grounds that in a technology's early stages walled gardens are necessary to ensure ease of use among consumers. In other words, according to the argument, a store like iTunes, which made it simple to sync the music store and the device, helped users get used to the idea of digital music. But users were getting their music online well before iTunes; it's just that the labels wanted a walled garden to protect their content. The case of AOL is interesting, because in the beginning the simplicity of associating the ISP with content clearly appealed to a lot of people. The problem with a cash cow like AOL is that the company was inclined to preserve its status and fight the natural evolution towards openness, as opposed to embrace it. So does the walled garden approach make sense in the still-early days of the wireless web? Clearly, the carriers would like to think so, but unlike the early days of the internet, users already know the web's full potential and are spoiled by it. A stripped-down, limited-functionality system will only go so far, as users wait around for a more robust offering. Still, the lessons of AOL and iTunes aren't to be taken lightly; focusing on usability is a good idea, walled garden or not.

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  1. identicon
    wireless mike, 27 Jun 2006 @ 5:57pm

    Wireless Walled Garden

    In the lessons learned by AOL and much earlier, Prodigy/Windows 3.1 ring a bell - bell? The wireless carriers are aware of their vulnerability if they continue to try to hoodwink their subscribers into believing there are technological issues that make it this way - the customers will run when the hedges come down. I pay $239.00 a month for 3000 minutes and blackberry, unlimited Internet - feels like the iron curtain. We are only doing this until... the first WiMAX carriers release their hedge trimming garden killer offering - who will be first? Wholesale data rates are quoted at .10 per KB or the more affordable .75 per meg for wireless data to MVNO's - these are WHoLESALE rates (makes you want to go be an MVNO huh!. Dual mode 802.1X phones are shipping for three months now but using X, a lower level of the code that will not allow the user to add voip. I am ok with not using voip on my mobile considering this is what the carriers see as their bread and butter (they missed it, voice is already a commodity), but please give us reasonable data speeds and open access to the net without charging me more than I would pay for 3 high speed DSL lines! Which are now $19.95 per month in my City. Lets start a revolt! I will follow as soon as you get them running!

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