Many companies are going open. Are they? Take OpenSocial (APIs by Google), Open Handset Alliance (alliance of 34 companies led by Google), and Open Media (an initiative announced by Bebo). What is common to all three initiatives, apart from the use of the word "open", is that none is directly aimed at benefiting the user (here).
Google is clearly "not responding to consumer needs. The applications it has
demonstrated using Android are readily available on existing phones and operating systems. Users are not crying out for yet another interface for their phones".
Tim O'Reilly: "We don't want to have the same application on multiple social networks, we want applications that can use data from multiple social networks".
In another FT's article: "the technology industry has little financial incentive to reduce switching costs. While users are free to switch from one service to another at any time, the critical question is: can they take their data with them? Can they take their photos, their videos, their e-mails? And how easy is that? Data are often stored in proprietary file formats, which are protected by patents, and those are controlled by software and service vendors."
"Which raises the question: Do you actually own your own data?" The answer is unfortunately a qualified no! A very interesting research direction, right?