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Why can't free software lead to hardware innovation?

Aug 09, 2010, 20:19 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ryan Cartwright)

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"Most of these markets have a similar pattern of growth: a hardware company introduces a device into a reasonably settled market, said device is hailed as 'revolutionary' by tech 'journalists' and 'celebrities' alike and thus demand is high. Shortly after this competitors in (or entering) the same market want to emulate the 'first' product and often turn to free software to reduce their costs and undercut their rivals on the shelf. Now you may argue that the initial product is not always the most innovative but the implementation of the technology often revitalises the market. For example touch screen phones were about long before the iPhone, but whatever you say, Apple's device changed the way people interacted with their phones and the software on it. Next thing we know, along come a host of similar devices, many of them based upon Android which is free software, even if it is often locked down by the hardware manufacturers. It's a similar tale with tablets, how many rumours of 'Linux based' iPad wannabes do we have to endure before we actually see one?"

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