Google has hired Tim Bray, the co-founder of XML and a notable tech blogger and given him the title of Developer Advocate as he begins work with the Android team. They might as well have just called him “hell-raiser” for the salvo he unleashed in the announcement of his hiring.
Here’s what he had to say:
The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.
I hate it.
I hate it even though the iPhone hardware and software are great, because freedom’s not just another word for anything, nor is it an optional ingredient…
The big thing about the Web isn’t the technology, it’s that it’s the first-ever platform without a vendor (credit for first pointing this out goes to Dave Winer). From that follows almost everything that matters, and it matters a lot now, to a huge number of people. It’s the only kind of platform I want to help build.
Apple apparently thinks you can have the benefits of the Internet while at the same time controlling what programs can be run and what parts of the stack can be accessed and what developers can say to each other.
I think they’re wrong and see this job as a chance to help prove it.
I think this battle between Google and Apple is going to get a little hotter in the days ahead.