Thursday, September 29, 2011

Open Source and the Kindle Fire

When I started this blog what seems a gazillion years ago, I had a feeling that open source would become a dominant force in mobile. I was absolutely convinced that it would do better in mobile than in the PC world. That it would be the winning model.

Most of the people out there disagreed with me (not a big deal, I am used to it ;-)

They said mobile and open source together would not work. That this market was too closed. That the carriers would not allow any openness. That the wall gardens were too high...

It turned out to be false, and the walls came down tumbling faster than anyone expected.

Then it came Apple and they said it is going to be the winning model. It is closed, no open source allowed. They said open source was not going to make it. Again.

It turned out to be false, because Google made Android open source and it became the fastest growing OS of all time, passing Apple at a speed nobody expected.

Now look at where we are today. I have been bullish on the Kindle Fire even before it was born. Actually, compared to that post, now that we know the price is $199 (instead of $249), I am even more bullish. I am more convinced than I was before that Amazon is going to be the biggest competitor for Apple in the space (and no, I do not believe the Fire will kill the iPad, they will live happily together for a while).

How did Amazon managed to challenge Apple in such a short time?

Open Source.

Think about it. Amazon took an open source mobile operating system (Android), forked it, changed the UI a little and added a few apps. With that, it is going to build the most successful tablet of our times (my prediction, we'll see how it goes).

There was no chance for Amazon to do the same without open source. It gave them speed and time-to-market. It gave them a stable and high-quality platform. The ability to compete and innovate. And maybe the biggest advantage of all: an enormous development community. All things we always said open source would bring to the table, making a huge difference.

The Kindle Fire is yet-another demonstration of the power of open source. The innovation is not going to stop here. Expect even greater things in the future. With the market moving towards HTML5 and the open web, we'll be talking about the dominance of open source and openness again and again.

And yes, open source in mobile is doing way better than in the PC world. And yes, it is clearly showing to be the winning model. I should close this blog now that I am peaking :-))