Open and Shut →

March 01, 2013 |

John Gruber utterly (and in typical fashion) destroys this article from Tim Wu for The New Yorker:

Even more telling, and more damning to Wu’s use of this as a case study, is that soon after Windows 95, Apple radically opened up the Mac OS, in a use of the word “open” that Wu expressly states is what he means by the term: they licensed the OS to other PC makers [to produce Mac clones]( This was the most open decision — in Wu’s sense of the word open — in the entire history of Apple Computer Inc. And it nearly bankrupted the company.

The most embarrassing thing for Wu is that his article is actually very well written. It shows that he tried very hard to present a compelling argument. The problem, as John points out, is that his thesis is, well, bullshit:

The dogmatic assumption that openness correlates to success, evidence to the contrary be damned, overcomplicates the argument. “Wu’s theory is that open should generally do better than closed, unless the closed company is run by a genius.” Take the open/closed stuff out of that premise, and you’re left with something like this: _Companies run by geniuses should generally do better than those which are not._ That sounds about right.

If I were Wu, I’d very much like to be hiding under a big rock just about now.