Just what is the iPhone, anyway?

Steven Frank:

Some of my most inviolable principles about developing and selling software are:

  • I can write any software I want. Nobody needs to “approve” it.
  • Anyone who wants to can download it. Or not.
  • I can set any price I want, including free, and there’s no middle-man.
  • I can set my own policies for refunds, coupons and other promotions.
  • When a serious bug demands an update, I can publish it immediately.
  • If I want, I can make the source code available.
  • If I want, I can participate in a someone else’s open source project.
  • If I want, I can discuss coding difficulties and solutions with other developers.

The thing is, those developing for games consoles have been living without these rights for decades, and the platforms have been wildly successful. In fact, one could argue that with no developer restrictions the consoles might have been viewed as nothing but under-powered computers with neat graphics cards, and NVIDIA would have killed Nintendo’s hardware business.

(via daring fireball)