The biggest threat to the open internet is Apple’s stranglehold over apps development, not an end to so-called net neutrality, according to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Speaking today at Bristol University, Wales said the app model is “a real danger”, whereas net neutrality fears “are largely theoretical”.
“The debate is a highly overblown issue,” said Wales in a response to question about his personal view of net neutrality. “A lot of the things that people are afraid of are in reality a long way from happening. The real threat comes from the apps model.”
On the open internet anyone can develop software and give it away or sell it. “But in the apps model, you have to get Apple’s permission,” said Wales. “That choke point is very dangerous. It’s not theoretical like a network operator potentially shutting out Skype, it’s real and it’s happening now.”
Championing legislation to promote net neutrality is “well-intentioned but naïve” and likely to suppress innovation, he added.