A walled garden is great … if you’re in the garden.
If you’re outside looking in, it looks rosy inside, but it’s a private party and you’re not invited.
A closed platform, walled garden or closed ecosystem is a software system where the carrier or service provider has control over applications, content, and media, and restricts convenient access to non-approved applications or content. — Wikipedia
I suppose a not-very-politically-correct analogy is a dictatorship: one ruler, one law, follow the rules and you’ll all be OK. Who does it work for. Let’s see:
- The ruler,
- The ruler’s followers,
- Rule followers.
- People who are OK with 1 through 3.
But let’s take Apple. I’m looking at a new door lock. I want a keypad lock where you can change the code via your iPhone. Lots of options. I read one review of the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt but they kept saying that it was only great if you were in the Apple ecosystem. But, they said, if you are or want to be in the Apple ecosystem, then it’s a great product.
I’m in the garden and it’s walled off. But I like being in the garden, partly because it’s walled off.
I know that the products are going to work together because it’s a walled garden. I know they’ll be compatible because there is a closed system where things are built … to work together. Imagine.
No, it’s not open source. No, it’s not open to, well, anyone who’s not inside. That’s just it: it’s closed. It’s like Switzerland. People outside might not think it’s very open (hint: it’s not), but do the people inside complain? Not the Swiss I’ve met.
Ask Apple how they’re doing with their walled garden approach.
How many Apple fans complain about Apple? The deadbolt lock does all kind of great things if you’re connected via your Apple TV. Well, I have an Apple TV.
BONUS: we just watched the Steve Jobs movie and it was interesting to see, on the same day that my brother-in-law were shopping for these locks, that Jobs was so fixated on the closed system strategy. Now, 32 years after 1984, we’re benefitting from it.
Well, you’re benefitting if you’re inside of the garden. The walled garden.