by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
closed, innovation, openness, platforms

apple, microsoft

What If Microsoft Had To Approve Every App On Windows?

from the playing-the-what-if-game dept

I've been pointing out why an open platform beats a closed platform over the long haul with regards to the iPhone, and linking to various stories concerning the arbitrary nature of being allowed (or not) on the iPhone. But, Harry McCracken, over at Technologizer, does a great job illustrating the point by playing the "what if" game, and thinking about how Windows would have developed had Microsoft similarly controlled every app. It doesn't take long to realize how much slower innovation would likely have been on the PC platform (though, it might have opened up more of an opportunity for other platforms):
Would Microsoft have distributed Microsoft Office rivals such as SmartSuite or WordPerfect Office via its app store?

Well, maybe, in theory at least-after all, it doesn't sell Microsoft Office as part of Windows, so it couldn't use the "it duplicates functionality that's already in the product" excuse. Call me a cynic, though, but I suspect that competitive office suites would have run into trouble if Microsoft had controlled all Windows software distribution. And hey, didn't WordPerfect duplicate features in Notepad?

How about Netscape Navigator?

When Netscape first appeared in 1994, the current version of Windows (3.11) didn't have a browser. Even Windows 95 didn't have one at first--Internet Explorer was part of the extra-cost Plus Pack. Then again, Windows 95 did ship with the dreadful client for the original version of MSN, a proprietary online service which definitely did compete with the Web. That might have been reason enough for Microsoft to nix Navigator for duplicating Windows functionality. And once IE was part of Windows, Microsoft could have given Navigator the boot retroactively.

Safari? Firefox? Chrome?

They all appeared long after Windows got a browser as standard equipment. No, no, and no.
And it goes on from there. Fun thought experiment if you're one of the believers that Apple's closed iPhone system is somehow "good" for innovation.

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  1. icon
    calbo (profile), 29 Jan 2010 @ 3:36pm

    this is a realy dumb argument

    Apple does not approve which apps run on OSX. Why are you comparing Windows to the iPhone platform. You should be comparing iphone OS to Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile has been around for decades and has done very little innovation. so along comes Palm and gives them a wake up call with the treo. I use to be a big Palm fan, but they got lazy stop innovating and continued to put out very boring phones. Then apple bitch slapped them with the iphone. What happens? It forced them to innovate and release a really cool device, the Palm Pre. If it were not for the iphone we would not be seeing so many cool and innovative devices running the new Android OS. I think apple should keep doing what they are doing because it forces companies like Microsoft, Palm and RIM to innovate or die, Which is what should happen in a free market society. Open or close platform? It really doesn't matter because consumers make the finally choice. What apple did was give us a choice where as before we had to just deal with Microsoft. That to me was more restrictive than what you are trying to state in your post. I will be all over this iPad and i will keep my iPhone, Why? because for me no one has anything better.

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