Open and Close Case

Posted by Ashay Thakur on January 14, 2010

Open has been synonymous to innovation, value, and freedom of choice for some years now. More importantly, it is being seen as a profitable and competitive working environment for businesses. A lot more companies claim openness now, more so because it is good for brand. What is Open though? Open technology includes open source, that the code is released and supported and that accepted standards are adhered to.

Traditional marketing dictates that we can assert an advantage by creating a closed system like the Cola Giants, and making it popular. This approach promotes vendor lock. But a major problem with a closed system is that innovation takes a back seat to the market. Incremental changes are made, but nothing groundbreaking comes in.

Open systems are more dynamic. Locking in customers is not something an Open system preaches. Changes needed in a system and generating a newer product, are more essential. There is no doubt that a lot of effort still goes into incremental changes, but you think more in terms of what can be done, rather than what needs to be done. And the buck does not stop at your end. If the system I am using has a bug, I can fix it on my own. I don't have to file a bug report and hope for a timely response.

Google says "we don't trap users, we make it easy for them to move to our competitors." This is akin to having a fire extinguisher. You never want to use it, but you want it there.

Closed systems have their own advantages. They grow quickly while open systems evolve more slowly, so placing your bets on open requires the optimism, will, and means to think long term.

The future is transparency, symmetry, freedom and collaboration. We believe in the chaos in Open, not the order in Close.

Reference: Meaning of Open, Official google blog.