And speaking of widgets, reports out today claim that Verizon is about to open its "Widget Bazaar" wider to developers in a bid to create an "app store" similar to the iPhone's. Like the iPhone store, there will be an approval process, and developers will be able to charge for their applications, with the revenue split likely being 70% to the developer and 30% to Verizon.
-> From a BusinessInsider article explaining some of the features that Verizon is rolling out on their FiOS broadband service. I hope that Verizon doesn't take too much more from Apple's playbook than the 30% cut and the seed of the idea on this, because a properly nurtured software market is, in my humble opinion, the future of rock and roll.
Despite the much advertised success, Apple actually hasn't gotten the AppStore quite right. See here, here and here for some very well reasoned complaints and observations from developers on how the process could be much more successful.
Chief among these complaints are the fact that the flipside of what makes Apple's products so successful (the closed and tight-lipped Apple ecosystem) is that they have tried to exert an amount of control over the AppStore that simply isn't feasible. The very idea of trying to "control" the open 3rd party market is an exercise in futility - Prometheus can't un-steal the fire. Make no mistake, Steve Jobs would never have allowed 3rd party developers to start developing applications for his device had people not already been jailbreaking these phones by the hundreds of thousands. He's not the kind of guy who likes others cramping his style and having a market of people openly hacking the OS on their iPhone definitely qualifies as cramping his style. He succeeded in stemming the tide and turning it to Apple's advantage for a time, but the dike has been leaky the whole time. Remember the NDA? That's the ham-handed non-disclosure agreement that Apple had in place on all their developers after the official release of the iPhone SDK (software developers kit) which expressly forbid anyone from even talking about iPhone development. How are people supposed to make the most of your platform when you won't even allow a message forum for your developers to talk to each other and for newbies to learn? They did away with that provision several months ago, but their treatment of the developer community hasn't improved much since. The great irony in all of this is that the AppStore is absolutely jam-packed with total shit at the same time that well known and respected developers are having their hard work rejected for highly dubious reasons.
When the day comes that someone gets the ecosystem right - meaning the proper combination of user, manufacturer, and developer base - the beginning of the golden age of software will truly have begun. Since a little over a year ago I've imagined where we are now in the evolution of the software biz as being sort of like the dawn of radio, in the vacuum tube/fireside chat era. The invention of the transistor (and the portable radio soon after) ushered in the golden age of the music business, the Tom Dowd/Ahmet Ertegun days, when starting a band to make a living and maybe even get rich must've seemed like a reasonable proposition for a person with a modest amount of musical talent. For a person or a band with a lot of talent and business acumen to support it it must've been like the wild west. That's the sense I get from the software sector right now. That's why I'm here.
The record business vein is pretty well played out by many measures, but that's the nature of evolution. I think this little announcement by Verizon is actually big news...