Mozilla Slams Apple’s “Walled-Garden” Philosophy

    May 11, 2012

Apple is undoubtedly good at what they do. They create products that appeal to a large audience and many people have said that products like the iPad make it easier for people to interact with technology. Mozilla says bollocks to all of that in a recent interview.

Speaking to TechRadar, the company that Firefox built says that Apple is turning everybody into consumers, instead of creators. The company has long been a strong proponent of the open Web and they feel that the app culture Apple created threatens that openness. They say that the Web was created so that people don’t have to “install and uninstall applications for every single task.”

They feel that the Web and working with it are tools of education. It’s the kind of philosophy that the open source movement holds. If you don’t like it, find out how it works and fix it. The control Apple has over iTunes prevents that kind of education and creativity. Tristan Nitot, former president of Mozilla Europe, sums up his fears quite nicely:

“I am a web citizen and when I see that somebody in California can decide what I am allowed to install on a device that I paid for with my own money, that he will impose his own values that are not from my culture and are different from my context it seems very scary to me.”

It all comes down to the Web being an uncensored community of passionate people sharing their works with the world. Mozilla feels that letting a company’s moral guidelines decide what content can and can not be viewed is tantamount to censorship.

Apple’s walled garden approach has been seen as a threat to the openness of the Web by many critics. Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin spoke out against Apple saying that their philosophy led to less innovation. Even though he later had to explain himself as Google has been accused of using some of the same tactics that Apple uses.

It all comes down to the differing philosophies of the two companies. Apple wants absolute control over its platform because control leads to order. Mozilla chose the Web as its platform and the Web, as TechRadar points out, is pretty chaotic. People like order so they flock to Apple’s devices for that feeling of safety.

This all leads to the question of what we are willing to sacrifice for at least a sense of order. The Web is a scary place. It’s full of viruses, hackers and all kinds of dangerous things. Apple’s ecosystem is a safe, welcoming place that is mostly free of such dangers. If you ask me, I prefer the chaos of the Web. Sure, I’m putting myself at risk but there’s a wonder of discovery to the Web that you just can’t find in apps.

Where do you stand? Do you prefer the relative calm of these “walled gardens,” or do you prefer the rip roaring seas of the open Web? I don’t think you’re any less of a person for choosing one or the other, but that chaotic sea we know as the Web is definitely something worth protecting.