Pebble founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky has a message for tech giants like Apple and Google: Keep your platforms open unless you want to crush innovation and disserve your customers.
Here’s what Migicovsky said at Wearable World Congress, a San Francisco conference put on by ReadWrite’s parent company:
We’re building on top of other people’s platforms. In this world where everything is interconnected, and you see devices like Fitbit, Jawbone, Nest and other connected devices that are using the Android, using the iOS platforms, it’s kind of a time for these entrenched, kind of old school, mobile-generation [companies] to make sure that they’re keeping a fair and open environment for newcomers who are building on top of these platforms.
It would be crazy to think of Apple blocking an app like Misfit, or Jawbone, or Fitbit even because they make products that compete with the Apple Watch.
In the same way you look at products like Nest, and you see that Nest hasn’t bought into [Apple’s] HomeKit SDK. Should they be blocked from selling apps or selling their hardware that works with the iPhone? I think it’s crazy to think that. I think it’s an important thing that Apple and Google need to be aware of as we move into the next generation of devices that work with the existing devices that you have.
Some history here. Not that long ago, Apple body-blocked Fitbit by booting it from the Apple Store—perhaps coincidentally after Fitbit declined to sign onto Apple’s HealthKit system for sharing health and fitness. There have also been recent reports of Apple’s App Store rejecting Pebble apps simply because they explicitly offered support for Pebble—now a competitor with the recently launched Apple Watch.
“There was an issue a couple weeks ago where Apple was misidentifying Pebble apps as being non-compliant,” Migicovsky said. “They fixed that—Apple made a statement to the world that that was a mistake on their part.”
Migicovsky also firmed up his company’s plans to launch the Pebble Time in retail locations this summer, shortly after backers receive the first batch of units to roll off the assembly line. When exactly we might see that happen, however, is still a mystery. I’ve reached out to Pebble for more clarification and will update this post if I hear back.
Lead image by Michael O’Donnell