A Walled GardenIt is now very clear that the technology giants have taken their respective markets by the scruff of the neck and decided that enough is enough. No more wandering around trying just anyone’s product. No more jumping from one platform to another. When you buy a new piece of technology now, you are going to be entering one of the new ‘Walled Gardens’.

Apple of course are the past masters at this and ever since the original MacIntosh, they have worked tirelessly at keeping their customers locked into Apple’s system. The iPhone, iOS5 and now iCloud are all part of the same approach. ‘It just works’, maybe the catchcry, but only if you stay firmly within Apple’s playground.

However, now that Apple have been so successful, the other big players have realised that they must react. Amazon are quietly going about this same ‘Walled Garden’ idea with Kindle and now the Kindle Fire. Combining technology with content and merging the two into one product from one source. Google have their Android, but this is a more open platform designed with a different goal in mind. There are signs however that this may change in the future and with Google’s market power they could well be very successful at fencing off their own territory.

Facebook is another that has built a wall around its product. Carefully controlling the market and their users. There is a difference though between say Apple and Facebook. Apple at least do listen to their users sometimes. Facebook have the appearance of being so big, they know exactly what their users want. Even if they don’t like it. A bit of ‘get what you’re given’ and stop complaining.

So what of the humble PC and Microsoft that was once king? Doing nicely thank you in the business sector. Still unfashionably boxy, doing the mundane and forcing poor working souls to suffer Internet Explorer. The office is not where the battle is anymore, so Microsoft and Dell can tick along without looking over their shoulder.

The battlefront now is in your living room, your bedroom and in your pocket.

The Walled Garden
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5 thoughts on “The Walled Garden

  • 09/11/2011 at 4:51 pm

    One thing none of them can prevent though Derek, is choice. If a customer is dissatisfied with one or other of the computing giants, they will simply vote with their feet. :D

  • 09/11/2011 at 5:40 pm

    I’m devoted to Macs, but not to Apple, thank you. I use iTunes to play music, but buy it elsewhere. I just bought my first mobile phone. *Not* an iPhone. And any form of the cloud pretty much sucks. All my choices are based on continuing to have a free choice. No Facebook, no Google+. I won’t be buying a Kindle or a Nook — ever. Or an iPad, for that matter. The big to-do over who’s stealing whose market is just static, as far as I’m concerned.

    Brand loyalty has always been a trap for people who think that making informed choices is just too damned complicated. Their problem, not mine.

  • 09/11/2011 at 7:00 pm

    I’d like to clear up a very prevalent misconception about who Facebook’s customers are. You, as the user, are not Facebook’s customer. To a certain extent, Facebook could care less whether you like the new features they roll out.

    You do not pay them any money. As a user, they receive zero compensation from you. To paraphrase someone’s comments regarding the use of free products: “If you are not paying for the product, then you ARE the product.”

    Facebook’s customers are in the advertising business. In another life, I was a REAL customer of Facebook. Let me tell you, the people that pay for your information are very pleased with the services that Facebook offers, in terms of targeted advertising.

    Apple’s primary goal is to sell you hardware. Want to upload to the iTunes marketplace directly? You have to own a Mac. Want to read a book from the iBookstore? Better get an iPad, iPhone, or other iOS enabled device.

    Everyone talks about voting with their feet. At the end of the day, most people will stay locked inside the walled garden, because their friends, information, and services are locked in the platform.

    Leave. As in life, so it is in digital death: You can’t take it with you.

    • 09/11/2011 at 7:35 pm

      I think most people are pretty aware of who Facebook’s customers are. They know their information is being sold. Most of them don’t care. So be it. My point is that there are almost always alternatives to staying in the walled garden. If there isn’t an alternative, you can make an informed choice of what’s most important to you. Is ignoring the benefits of the walled garden a benefit, a sacrifice, or a matter of indifference? The answers are different for everyone, and probably keep changing as we go along.

      By the way, I’m very aware that I’m considered a product. I simply make sure that my value is as low as I can possibly make it.

  • 10/11/2011 at 7:47 am

    I think you’re only walled in if you want to be walled in. It’s just my opinion, but I think people wind up there because they always want the latest in technology. And often just so they can say they have an iPhone, or a Kindle Fire…or whatever else is new and looks impressive to them.

    I stay as close to the gate as I can. I do have a cell phone, but it’s just a nice prepaid model that I rarely use because I don’t feel the need to be in contact with people every waking second. Nor do I care about apps or texting (which I hate with a passion). As far as browsers go, I do have Windows, but hate I.E. so I use Firefox instead.

    And Facebook… There’s a headache, hmm? But most of my aunts and uncles are on it, along with my mom and many other family members (not to mention numerous friends and acquaintances), so I do have an account. It’s nice to stay in touch. I am, however, using it less often as time goes on because I do hate the changes. And it looks like many others in my friends list are doing the same thing. Getting a little boring there.

    For me, I don’t really care if anyone is impressed with my phone, e-reader, computer…or anything else for that matter. I can’t imagine trying to figure out how to use every new piece of electronics out there.

    The only thing I WOULD like is an auto correct feature on my cell phone. But only because I love the Damn You, Auto Correct site…and would like to experience some of that fun for myself. :)

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