Microsoft has joined the assault on Google and Android. The reason Oracle, Apple, Microsoft and other are attacking Google and Android, is because Android is a run away success, and it threatens the lock-in revenue that incumbents like Oracle, Apple, Microsoft and others have been enjoying. Make no mistake, this is going to be the biggest battle, and most important battle for the next 5 years.
To understand the context, Android represents freedom. It is based on Linux, which is the pre-eminent free OS. Google, as they do, is giving the their addition to Linux, their Dalvik VM away without license to handset makers and network operators. The OS and the apps on it arguably rival, if not well surpass what is offered by Apple and it’s runaway success with the iPhone.
With iPhone Apple makes and controls almost all aspects of your mobile experience. They make the hardware, the OS, and they are the gatekeepers of the Application Market. The only part of it they don’t control is the network…and even here they make exclusive agreements so you initially could only get the phone if you subscribed to the AT&T network. AT&T would have paid handsomely for this exclusivity…and passed the cost of that on to you the consumer.
Google is on the other end of the spectrum…they make their money on Ads, so they can do the following:
- Anyone and everyone is making hardware for Android…this is good for you as a consumer, as the price for the hardware becomes a commodity and the price is driven down. So you can get an incredible smart phone, for dirt cheap.
- Open sourcing all the software on the phone. Linux is already open source, but they also open source the Dalvik VM which is the key piece of software besides the OS on the phone. Open source is ALWAYS good for the consumer. Of course Apple has done the opposite, taken BSD and closed sourced it into iOS. The BSD license isn’t a viral license like the GPL so they can do that.
- There is no license to use Android, so the network operators and handset manufacturers don’t need to bundle that cost into their products…so again, this gets cheaper for you and I.
- They have a free, open market that they don’t control like Apple does in it’s North Korean tyrannical way. Anyone can write any application and submit it to the Android Market…even if that software threatens another piece of software by being cheaper and better. Again excellent for the consumer.
So why should you care about the following things:
- Oracle sues Google over alleged Java patent infringement in the Android Dalvik VM.
- Microsoft sues Motorola, alleging several of the cell phone maker’s Android devices infringe on Redmond’s patents.
- Apple sued HTC for Android phone-related IP infringement.
Starting to see a pattern? Doesn’t this look like Microsofts use of SCO to target Linux. Did you know that Steve Jobs is good friends with Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. Any doubt that this sucks for you and me and freedom. Look at this, I run Ubuntu, a free Linux based OS, and I wanted to copy a PDF document onto my iPhone so I could read it on the plane. I want to plug my iPhone in and drag and drop the PDF into a folder that I can open on the phone and read the PDF document. Even this simplest of scenarios cannot be done…not because the technology isn’t capable of it…no, simply because the Recording Industry caused my phone to be hobbled to avoid copying MP3’s. The supreme court has ruled that this is legal in the Betamax case. In short, if a device has shown that it can be used for non-copyright infringement purposes, the manufacturer cannot be held liable if a consumer does engage in copyright infringement… thus the device can be allowed to live and be produced. So Sony won against the Medias attempt to squash VHS’s. Of course the VHS video rental market turned into a huge bonanza for the Motion Picture industry…but that never stopped them from resisting changes that benefited them before.
We get lazy, it’s human nature, things are pretty good. But don’t fall asleep, wake up, we all need to continue to fight for our freedom or others will gradually and progressively rob it from us. We have inherited a democracy, but our laziness is a slap in the face of our founding fathers, who shucked off the tyranny of oppressive incumbents.
Vote with your wallet. Don’t buy any Apple products…I’ve been through the whole bad nightmare of it myself. First I wanted to program in Ruby on Rails as it seemed a nice alternative to J2EE…well Textmate seemed to be the best tool for development of it and it only ran on Mac so I bought a MacBook. I wanted to listen to my music in my living room so I bought an AirPort…but for some reason it was quite intermittent, so I ended up buying an AirPort extreme to see if that would help…it didn’t. All it was, was an over priced router…like think 3X what it should cost. This is the kind of lock in companies like Apple strive for. An iMac, or several later (sorry family I know it seemed cool, but I repent as the family techno leader, I failed you too). Between myself and family members, I’m sure we spent upwards of $20,000.00 to participate in the Apple family. MobileMe, etc…
I should join or start AA…Apple Anonymous! Anyway, please don’t be suckered in like I was. They are great freer alternatives. Ubuntu is excellent, Android is excellent. Both underpinned by a rock-solid free(dom) OS, Linux. You can sync your contacts through Google (see you later MobileMe, you suck hard!). Here are some things I want you to try to do:
- Try to rescue your Address Book from Apple land…its freaking hard! Easy to put in, hard to get out. Forget about syncing with google or something else. My contacts are mine, it should be easy to move them around etc…
- Try to free your email from Apple Mail…it may be impossible…I haven’t even tried. It should be simple and free and obvious.
All these things should be free simple and obvious…but they are not because none of the evil corporations (Apple, Microsoft, Oracle) want it that way. But there are freedom fighters out there. Google seems pretty darn good at the moment. Ubuntu, is a pretty good distribution of Linux. Of course these guys are based off the grand-daddy of Open Source GNU/Linux.