The world is full of paradoxes.

Apple, the ultimate closed system is now again, the worlds most valuable company, but was started by two blokes, one of whom was, and remains an advocate of open systems, Steve Wozniak, and the other, Steve Jobs, a passionate and demanding driver of closed systems, with commercial windows. It will be enlightening to hear the analysis of market share and profitability as Googles open Android enabled devices pull away from Apple’s closed version in mobile devices

IBM almost went broke trying to hold everything inside its business model, then opened up, completely revised their business model, and emerged from its near death as a much stronger business. Wikipedia 1.0 was tried as a closed system, but succeeded only when Jimmy Wales relinquished enormous amounts of power to the crowd. Similarly, Linux was started on the bulletin boards of the early web, by a small group led by Linux Thorvaldsen who simply wanted to get away from the control, then exerted by that early, and still, proponent of closed systems,  Microsoft.

So what are the lessons in all this?

  1. Simply that there is no one cookie cutter model that can be applied, that differing models suit different circumstances, and times.
  2. Nothing lasts forever, the next iteration will call into question all the assumptions of the previous model
  3. The model is evolving all the time, trying to lock it in is a bit like Canute’s efforts with the tide.