On TWiT this week, Dave Winer was talking about the ideal podcatcher. Key features being that it would be independent of other devices (acquire content itself rather than via another device), you should be able to create content on it as well as consume and the software should not be controlled by a single company. About half way through the podcast he illustrated how open systems can thrive by referring back to the Apple II, Mac and IBM PC as platforms on which you could create software for the platform and this was what created such success.
A closed device does not build a creative community that can help evolve the device – it becomes stale. This was a part of what I was describing in a previous post about moving to light devices and having the intelligence in the cloud. If the system is not open then you stand to lose the economy of scale that the current market provides. Users can’t innovate on the edge devices, and can’t afford to run the devices that provide the service in the cloud.
I hope we can always keep that open model for the benefit of everyone.