Apple may possess the market lead for now, but I predict in a few years, it will succumb to challengers championing a more open approach. […] eventually, somebody is going to create a shiny computer phone that does all that iPhone does, without the restricted sandbox paradigm.
— AZspot’s response to this.
I hear this argument a lot, but the market just doesn’t support it.
Very few people care about openness. The iPod dominated music players despite a lot of “open” competition, and iTunes dominated online music sales despite DRM and restrictions. Android is semi-open (at least moreso than the iPhone), and nobody knows or cares except geeks like us.
There are plenty of technological markets in which there has never been a dominant open player or option, such as game consoles, non-“smart” mobile phones, and nearly every type of enterprise software, but the markets still thrive and very few people complain about the lack of openness.
Personal computers are the only major exception to this, and there are so many other contributing factors that it’s difficult to apply their “open will always prevail” theory to everything else with much confidence.
As a sidenote, Google is an awful example of openness. They’re highly closed, proprietary, secretive, and inaccessible. It’s truly sad if they’re our only hope for openness in mobile computing for the foreseeable future.