Is a 1 OS world really a good idea?
Few things in humanity are as powerful as vindication and validation. Maybe it's a sign of our insecurities as human beings and the uncertainty of life in general that many of us seek these things in our lives. Some of us seem immune to all of this yet if your dig deeper you will probably find a need to be vindicated or validated in some way.
Therefore its pretty natural for tech forums to be swamped with posts based on these feelings. No one is immune and to being partisan. Which is fine and healthy because in reality, we are all making bets on what will be the best things in life for us. Whether it be clothing, spouses or devices. It does matter to us what we and others around us choose because ultimately it reflects on us in some way.
However there is a point when it becomes extreme. The extreme in the OS wars seems to be the need for 'dominiation". I suppose domination is the ultimate form of validation of one's views. So in elections, in war, in OS's the supporters of each "side" want domination. But is domination really good for us? In terms of operating systems is domination the best thing?
In theory the dominance of one OS or eco system brings consumers and producers many benefits.
1) compatibility of assets, software, media etc...
2) cheaper to make products for 1 OS/eco system than many
3) lower prices as market forces (race to the bottom) and standardised products bring prices down because marginal cost of production is better..
Looks good right?
But what are the downsides to this dominance?
1) Monoplistic control and lack of competition generally means a decline in technological improvements as there is no financial incentive to make better products.
2) Natural barrier to entry for anyone who has anything innovative to offer due to lack of "economies of scale"
3) Technology can suffer because pace of change has to be slower to ensure compatibility in the market
I suppose it comes down to whats important to you. I'm a fan of "whats possible" not just "what here" and for me the dominance of 1 system just destroys everything I love about technology. I still suffer from flashbacks due to the "lost decade" where Windows XP was completely dominant. The stagnation in the software, the lack of innovation was just crazy. Compare how fast mobile technology has come in 5 yrs compared to what happened in 10-15 yrs with Windows. Its like light and day!
i understand Apple's position in making devices that in the long run can never dominate a market because they are the sole vendor. I think its "one" way to ensure innovation (but not the only way I might add). And I'm glad that Apple DONT seek to dominate a market in the way Microsoft and seemingly Google want to do. I think we need to maintain a healthy balance even if it means its harder to recommend apps to our friends because they are on another platform.
I think the inconvenience of incompatibility (i.e. a multi OS world) is a fair price to pay so that technology moves forward. On the whole it's nice to see your choices validated and your opinions vindicated. It reassures us that we're making the best of our lives. But in reality we should be happy to be wrong sometimes. Everyone thinking the same way, doing the same thing (and using the same OS!) is bad for tech, and bad for progress.