The fact that China and Russia have been working hard at “balkanising” the Internet for some time is nothing new. What has been a hard blow this week is to see how the US — abusing Google’s domain of Android — now has its own button to short circuit any project from the rest of the world. And has been proven willing to use it.
Political justifications and the debate over who is worse or more aggressive should be left on the sidelines of any in-depth “technical” analysis, particularly according to those of us who love and live off of technology. How this resolution is set to affect key issues in the tech industry — cooperation between countries and companies, new platform and solution implementations, global standards to ensure that technology serves humanity with better opportunities — is at stake. Along with the risk of technology becoming yet another weapon of control.
Regardless, the damage has been done. This is the scenario we’re dealing with. Android has been hit hard and Google is a victim of ill-planned policy. The world expects us to just stand by, waiting to see who the winner is — who’ll get to grab the ultimate weapon and end up with control over the European mobile tech space. But opportunities also arise from every crisis.
Europe’s historically open and integrating culture must also play a role in the tech world. It puts us in a much better position than other companies to act as a bridge, to connect communities, countries and markets.
So, why should a huge Chinese device manufacturer or a giant American software development company rely on a European project? If they took a closer look, both would realize that the exclusionary attitude of the entities at be that abuse them are vacant of meaning. The fact of the matter is that the reasons behind this type of blockade from a technical and business point of view are irrelevant when political clout is disregarded.
And this is not simply a matter of opinion, this week on Uptodown we have had two of the highest level meetings we have ever had, with one of the top 3 global mobile manufacturers and with the world’s most important development community based in the USA.
None of them promoted by us. And while we don’t take part — we argue that the decision to install a free and legal app on your own device should be up to users. Not in the hands of companies or governments — the motives that drive much of what is being blocked on both sides are barbaric.
Europe, its entrepreneurs and companies, must reclaim their historical role, propose ambitious solutions and build their own structures to re-establish leadership in tech development.
The ball is in our court.
*Thanks to my awe-inspiring and dear colleage @H3ricopt4 for the translation :).