Analysis: Is Apple destroying the Internet?
- 17 April, 2012 04:53
When The Guardian recently interviewed Google co-founder Sergey Brin as a teaser for its weeklong series of articles about the "Battle for the Internet," the publication got a good headline out of it: "Google's Brin: threats to Web freedom 'greater then ever'".
A perfect attention-getter for what looks like a good week of meaty Internet freedom topics. While they do seem to be missing the most important Internet freedom topic - the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) coming up in December in Dubai - the topics they have chosen are about real threats to what most of us see as the freedom of the Internet.
APPLE NETWORKING: Apple's Bonjour protocol tamed, managed for enterprise Wi-Fi
The sub-headline on the Brin interview is, "Threats range from governments trying to control citizens to the rise of Facebook and Apple-style 'walled gardens.'" This, coincidentally, ties in just about perfectly with the theme of Day 3 -- "the new walled gardens." In its article about the interview, The Guardian writes, "The threat to the freedom of the internet comes, [Brin] claims, from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry's attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of 'restrictive' walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms."
In what can only be described as hyperbole, Brin said that he would not have been able to create Google if Facebook had already existed. A profoundly silly thing to say. Even today, with its hundreds of millions of users, Facebook is a very, very small part of the Internet. I happen to think that it would be better for the average Internet user if Google were able to crawl and index the non-private parts of Facebook since I find it hard to locate anything there, but Google finds plenty to tell me about when I search for topics of interest or a shirt to buy.
The other area of hyperbole concerns Apple and its supposed "stifling innovation and balkanizing the web." Brin is not the first to cry foul about Apple's control over what programs can be run on its iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad. This complaint was also a theme of Jonathan Zittrain's "The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It."
This may be a real complaint about Apple iOS devices, but it is not an issue with Apple OS X devices -- you can download and run anything you want to, though a security feature in Mountain Lion may make it a bit harder to do so in the future. Even if it is a real complaint, it does not hurt enough people enough to cause anyone but the purists to complain -- it's hard to justify a position that Apple inhibits iOS innovation when the Apple iOS App Store includes more than a half million applications.
While, as a purist, I'd like to see more ability to create and load applications on iOS devices, it only takes a quick glance at the Android world to see how messy that can quickly get. What I really want to see is an iPad-like device that runs OS X but can also run all the iOS applications. Maybe a MacBook Air with a fold-over screen so it could be used both ways. That combination is one that should worry Brin, but not for Internet openness reasons.
Disclaimer: Harvard is generally not seen as an institution that worries all that much, at least about how people perceive it, so the above commentary is mine, not the university's.
Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.
Join the Computerworld Australia group on Linkedin. The group is open to IT Directors, IT Managers, Infrastructure Managers, Network Managers, Security Managers, Communications Managers.
- Battle for the internet : Technology : The Guardian
- Apple's Bonjour protocol tamed, managed for enterprise Wi-Fi
- Web freedom faces greatest threat ever, warns Google's Sergey Brin : Technology : The Guardian
- The iPhone Quiz
- 6 sets of useful Apple iPad resources
- The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It
- Security Research Center - Network World
- Apple - OS X Mountain Lion - Gatekeeper keeps your Mac even safer.
- Apple - iPhone 4S - Find over 500,000 apps on the App Store.
- Applications Research Center - Network World
- 8 useful Google Android resources
- LAN & WAN Research Center - Network World
- Governance For All - Empowering IT and Business Content Owners
- Top 10 Mistakes in Data Centre Operations: Operating Efficient and Effective Data Centres
- World Quality Report - The State of Quality 2012
- 2013 Global Information Security Survey: Initial findings
- Power of Three: Building Mobile Initiatives Guided by Business Goals, Technology and Governance
- HTC unveils new Butterfly s phone that packs more battery life
- 3D printer creates lithium-ion batteries the size of a grain of sand
- Google Glass apps for enterprises coming by early 2014
- iPad 5 rumour rollup for the week ending June 18
- Say 'cheese', Earthlings! Spacecraft to snap home planet pic from deep space
Transfield wins $366m in new NBN work
Good riddance Google Reader: Feedly throws switch on alternate RSS service
Mobile app data protection not our responsibility, say Australians
"You may wish updated connection figures http://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/take-up-rate-of-nbn-in-coffs-harbour-takes-a-hike/1894499/ It is the acceleration of ..."NBN Co should prepare for Coalition government: NBN committee
Google adds more retailers for Chromebook