All the brouhaha over whether or not the iPhone will allow third party development is slightly amusing and mystifying to me.

Amusing because, like my pal Mike over at phone different I'm looking at the iPhone like a smartphone, and a smartphone is a platform, and a platform needs 3rd party apps, period. You should head over and read the whole article, as it makes it pretty clear that Apple should do this and makes a good guess about how they will.

You have to ensure that there's a rich ecosystem for developers, as the developers are the people that ensure that a platform (platform meaning smartphones, computers, video game consoles, etc) has applications available on it. Applications are the lifeblood of any platform, and Apple knows it.

Read: Phone Different

Mystifying because - and here's the Windows Mobile bit - how on earth does it benefit anybody to have any sort of ambiguity when it comes to your developers and how you're going to support them? Say what you want about Microsoft, but since they don't have a culture of secrecy like Apple's, it's easier for them to be open about what they're doing and why. I mean, can you imagine, in your wildest, crazies dreams, an Apple employee being allowed to write a blog post about prioritizing features like the great one I just read over at the Windows Mobile Team Blog?

Honestly, I wish that Windows Mobile, its creators, its developers, and even its users could magically make the default opinion of "Microsoft the evil empire" go away. Because it's just not true with WM. When it comes to an Operating System, I'd rather have open and honest development rather than a set of mysterious tablets brought down to me from upon high. That paradigm might work well for a religion, but it doesn't work well for fostering developers.

It may have been crude, but Ballmer was exactly right when he chanted "DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!!." Until Apple really and truly applies that sweaty chant to the iPhone, I'm not worried about it gobbling up the Windows Mobile market.