Jun 212011

I haven’t heard the term ‘ecosystem’ as many times in my whole life as I have since Elop’s announcement on February 11. All of sudden it is all about the ‘ecosystem’, everyone is attributing everything to the ‘ecosystem’ – even when your phone stops working because it got crushed by a bus it apparently has something to do with the ‘ecosystem’ these days.

But you know what? I could not care less about an ‘ecosystem’. Honestly I don’t. And I am getting bored hearing about it everywhere, even more so because everyone seem to take at face value that an ecosystem is the way to go in the future. I have argued before that the concept of an ecosystem doesn’t exists on your PC, so why do I need it on my phone? I don’t need it on my PC, and I don’t want nor need it on my smartphone/mobile computer; the more tied you are an ecosystem the less flexibility and freedom you have to use your phone the way you want to, and if you do not agree with that then just have a look at this – that is a direct consequence of your beloved ‘ecosystem’. And you can be sure that we will see more of that if everyone, manufacturers and consumers alike, is set on jumping on the ‘ecosystem’ bandwagon. (And no, an appstore is not an ‘ecosystem’, appstores existed long before the iPhone no matter how hard Steve Jobs is trying to sell you that they were first, eg. google ‘Handango’ and ‘Palmgear’, both existed years before Apple’s appstore).

I am certain that the future will be about openness, so that you can connect to any cloud that you wish, and the lock-ins that we are see now will seem antiquated. It will about open services and open APIs, and those manufacturers who chose to continue the current path of lock-ins will disappear or be marginalized.

So instead of an ‘ecosystem’ what I want instead is a true mobile computer. I want the full experience in my pocket, with no compromises. I want to be able to carry around my phone and use it just as I would use a laptop. I want access to the whole web, be able to download any file or media and then consume it directly on my phone or my TV, no matter what kind of media it might be.

So who will be the first to throw ‘ecosystem’ in the bin where it belongs and instead focus on what we should be striving for: true mobile computers with complete freedom and unrestricted access to everything in the cloud? That is why I have such high hopes for MeeGo, as I would like to see it as being the stepping stone to something greater and better beyond where everyone are rushing right now.

And if not MeeGo, there is always Canonical of course….

  6 Responses to ““I don’t want no friggin ‘ecosystem’””

  1. Like I posted in My Nokia Blog:


    You know really sickens me? That there is a bunch of pied pipers towing the industry towards dependence on single ecosystems of single manufacturers, on permanent active data connections. All this with the encouragement of ignorant bloggers and customers.

    When I compare this situation with, let’s say the PC market: I can assemble my own computer, with the components I myself select. Then I’m free to install the OS I want (even hack OS X to run on x86 hardware). Then in Linux, and even in Windows, I’m free to install any application I want, developed by anyone, using whatever application language the developer wanted. My applications do not stop loading when there is no active Internet connection (unless, of course, are Web related). I can do whatever I want with my files.

    Now, in the mobile market, I’m constrained to the hardware manufacturers decide to release, which I understand due to the level of integration and scarce resources available on mobile. Then, I have to resign myself to the OS that comes with the hardware or viceversa. How many times a HW feature you want it’s on an OS you don’t want? Or the inverse situation?

    Then, as a developer, I have to bend down and use the particular SDK of said manufacturer. And if you want a particular application, and the developer doesn’t support your OS, then bad luck. Don’t get me started on OS design choices: you can’t be productive on certain OS/devices because their lack of true multi-tasking do not allow you to kill dead periods of time (i.e. let’s quickly check mail while a webpage loads).

    Also! If everything is online, then you need a data plan (which can be very expensive), and resign yourself to short battery life because the connection is going to be active the whole time.

    Do you want to upload your own files, on your directories, and have them available to every application capable of accesing your system’s file directory? Good luck doing that on iOS or WP7. You have to chain yourself to iTunes or Zune (and now iTunes is going to be in the cloud!).

    If there is people than want this, to get themselves chained to the whim of manufacturers with echoes of thunderous applause, all for the sake of convenience and sheepleware, then so be it. The problem is that when this tendency eliminates choices for people that like having choices in the first place. Choices of where to store my data, of where tok eep my personal information, of what I want to expose to manufacturers for which your online activities are the main source of revenue.

    That is why I’m getting a Nokia N9.

    As usual, XKCD explains it better:


    • Yes, it is surprising, and disappointing, how little critical thought and resistance the whole ‘ecosystem’-snake oil has met, and that some sites in particular (I will refrain from naming them) happily keep splashing on the term like a bad cologne on almost everything they post, as if that somehow makes them look more knowledgeable in their “analyses”.

      Btw, nice to read that there are still some out there that can appreciate the benefits of true multitasking and the usefulness of a filesystem on a phone :) (as opposed to having to give a 101 explanation on the subject).

  2. Oh thank the lord there is someone else who thinks like me. :D
    Nice write up. I have hated the “ecosystem” catchword for a long time and no matter how I explain it to people, they just don’t get it. This made my day! Thanks!


  3. A little late to the debate but I wholeheartedly agree. Ecosystems suck! :) They’re the epitome of vendor lock-in yet people would rather give their money to companies that will control their entire mobile computing experience, from hardware to peripherals to software and services. That’s one helluva price to pay for convenience.

    Smartphones may have hardware limitations that mean you can’t run desktop-class software and media, but that’s no excuse to lock them down. It’s ridiculous that iOS and WP7 don’t offer filesystem access and USB mass storage support and force users to go to “the cloud”. Then again, not so ridiculous if you’re grubbing for profit – it’s a great way to control access to paid content and services a la iTunes/Zune, so hardware manufacturers, mobile OS providers and wireless carriers can all make money from hapless consumers.

    • The debate is obviously, but unfortunately, still very much relevant :)

      I agree about how frivolous people are about giving up their freedom to use their device however they wish, only to gain some convenience in form of a locked down and crippled device; but just as with many other aspects of life, people get exactly what they deserve/are willing to put up with….