Walled Garden vs Open Plain Strategies Debate
The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania has posted an interesting article on the differing approaches of mobile technology companies. Earlier this summer they had another article on the Foleo announcement, which spawned a good debate here. This most recent article takes on the merits and motivations behind having open or closed development approach to products. The author cites a number of recent and past examples including Palm and Apple.
In building walled gardens with its devices, Apple is making a calculated gamble that it can delight consumers enough that they won't opt for products and services that offer more flexibility, says Kendall Whitehouse, Wharton's senior director for information technology. In contrast, firms that take a more flexible approach are often said to be employing what could be called an "open-plain" or "open-architecture" strategy. They are betting that, by allowing their offerings to be extended or customized by others, they will encourage the growth of an "ecosystem" of complementary products and services, thus increasing the size and value of the market for everyone.