I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Fucking Ecosystem

I was chatting with a friend who expressed what I’m finding is a fairly common opinion.

Well, yes, I’d love to move to Android – but all my content is in iTunes.

I discovered that it wasn’t apps which were the problem – buying them again is a pain, but most are free. It’s media content which traps people into staying with services that they no longer want.

Music, movies, TV, and podcast subscriptions. All tied up in Apple’s little ecosystem. A very pretty noose to keep people chained to its hardware.

Imagine, just for a moment, that your Sony DVD player would only play Sony Movies’ films. When you decided to buy a new DVD player from Samsung, none of those media files would work on your new kit without some serious fiddling.

That’s the walled garden that so many companies are now trying to drag us into. And I think it stinks.

On a mobile phone network in the UK, you can use any phone you want. Hardware and services are totally divorced. It promotes competition because customers know that if they have a poor experience with HTC, they can move to Nokia and everything will carry on working just as it did before.

But, if all of your contacts, entertainment services, and backups are chained into HTC – well, then you’re just shit out of luck if you want to move.

I want to see a complete separation of church and state here. Hardware should be separate from software. Software should be separate from services.

I want to watch Nokia movies on my Samsung hardware running Google’s Android, and then back them up to DropBox.

That’s how it works – more or less – in the PC space. I don’t understand why it doesn’t in the tablet and smartphone space? Why would I buy a tablet thatonly worked with content from one provider? Whether that’s Amazon, Microsoft or Apple – it’s setting up a nasty little monopoly which will drive up prices and drive down quality.

I know, I know. The mantra of “It Just Works”. I’m mildly sick of having to configure my tablet to talk to my NAS, and then get the TV to talk to both of them. That situation isn’t just due to my equipment all coming from different manufacturers – it’s mostly due to those manufacturers not implementing open standards.

I fear what will happen when a provider shuts down a service. I joke about Apple going bust – even if they stay solvent, what’s to stop them wiping all your music and movie purchases? After all, they shuttered their Mobile Me service with barely any warning and destroyed all the data their paying customers were hosting there.
Adobe killed their DRM servers with only 9 months notice – effectively stopping anyone from reading books they had bought.
Amazon wipes Kindles.
Google took Google Video to the woodshed and shot it in the head – along with Buzz, Wave, and who know how many other products.
Microsoft set up PlaysForSure - and then let it die, trapping millions of music files on devices which are no longer supported.

So, perhaps I’ll stick with Google and hope that my Google TV talks to my Google Phone while I watch Google Play videos and listen to Google Play Music on my Google ChromeBook which I share on Google+ and purchase with Google Wallet. And send them the technology geek’s prayer “Please don’t decide that this useful service isn’t profitable.”

I just want us all to get along. I want my disparate equipment to talk to each other. I don’t want to live in a house where ever component has to be made by the same company otherwise nothing works correctly. I don’t want to be stuck using a crappy product because they’re the only ones offering service X.

I don’t want toys that only run on your flavour of batteries.

I don’t want to be part of your fucking ecosystem.