Berners-Lee: Apple Promoting Proprietary Web

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Apple has joined the list of closed systems, threatening to turn the web into another proprietary product from Cupertino, warns Tim Berners-Lee in an article published online Friday. Berners-Lee, who loosed the World Wide Web in 1990, blasted Apple’s iTunes for trapping consumers “in a single store, rather than being on the open marketplace.”

“For all the store’s wonderful features, its evolution is limited to what one company thinks up,” the Internet pioneer writes in Scientific American. Rather than using the standard HTTP protocol, Apple links iTunes material with the proprietary “itunes:” command.


According to Berners-Lee: “You can’t make a link to any information in the iTunes world — a song or information about a band. You can’t send that link to someone else to see. You are no longer on the Web. The iTunes world is centralized and walled off.”

The argument of a “walled garden” was used earlier this year by Adobe after Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced his company and the Flash-maker had “grown apart.” In the ensuing back-and forth, Adobe’s Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch slammed Apple’s decision to go with HTML5 was a choice between closed and open systems.

This model of open access has proven to be more effective in the long term than a walled approach, where a manufacturer tries to determine what users are able to see or approves and disapproves individual content and applications. We strongly believe the Web should remain an open environment with consistent access to content and applications regardless of your viewing device.

[Fortune]