Death Knell for Free on the Interwebs?

Check out “Closing the Digital Frontier” in The Atlantic, h/t Slashdot.

It’s hard to argue with the premise that sanitized platforms with apps on top will eventually bring the downfall of the interwebs as we’ve known it for 15+ years through a browser.

Isn’t it?

I’ve been thinking about this, and it really does make scary sense.

I’m increasingly saddened by the route Apple is taking with iOS. Yeah, I get why they’re doing it, i.e. ostensibly to create the best experience, but also to please content providers. The latter is where big money hides.

It’s both really, and although I’m happy with Android, at times freedom feels horrible, e.g. I’m currently trying to figure out why text messages won’t sound an audible alarm. Yeah, I checked all the settings.

This is the same argument that fuels the family/friends PC support gripe. Sure, doing tech support for friends and family is frequently a bummer, but how would you feel if they didn’t need it?

This is the goal of iOS, which you already know how to use. I’m scared that iOS will not only creep into the Mac line, but that it will marginalize (or gasp, replace) OS X and its progeny.

Open is great, but it’s difficult. Closed can be great, but it’s sanitized and likely controlled by someone who isn’t you.

I guess as long as there’s choice, everything is cool, but if apps continue to water down the real interwebs, as seen through a browser, that is definitely not cool.

What do you think? Find the comments.




  1. The 'gap' in the original article is government/tax payer funded information providers, the BBC being a prime example, or the ABC down here in Australia. If Murdoch wants me to pay before I can see the headlines on his site, then I can switch to the ABC's news feeds.
    And newspapers/TV have always been heavily 'subsidised' by advertisers. If Murdoch expects readers to pay the full costs, I suspect there would be a big switch off.

  2. Murdoch is the whipping boy for doing it wrong on the browser intertubes. Steve Jobs is the standard-bearer for the mobile web/App Store model that allows all the wannabe Murdochs to find a way to get paid for content.

    Devices like the iPhone and especially the iPad have created a potentially enormous market for them that is growing like gangbusters. That doesn't bode well for the free, browser versions we're accustomed to seeing; it probably signals a lower priority for web presences, which limp along as net loss ventures, vs. apps which have more potential to earn.

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