Apple’s stranglehold over mobile applications is “dangerous” and a “threat to the openness of the internet”, according to the founder of Wikipedia.
Internet visionary Jimmy Wales was speaking at Bristol University as part of the website’s tenth birthday celebrations when he was asked about problems facing the internet.
And the 44-year-old said his biggest concern over the future of the internet was the use of “closed” software stores such as Apple’s hugely successful app store.
He said: “The action is taken place in the development of the apps model which is undergoing an incredible boom because there are some amazing things going on.
“However, the concern is that in order to make software and distribute it for free, you have to get permission from Apple so that chokepoint is very dangerous and something I’m concerned about.
“When you own a device and you want to give someone that software, you should not have to get permission from someone else and I think that is a very important thing.
“People talk about net neutrality as an issue but the real action is in thinking about whether apps are a threat to the openness of the system.”
All mobile phone and tablet applications have to be approved by Apple before they go on the technology giant’s online store.
Last year a developer uploaded an unofficial application containing the controversial WikiLeaks diplomacy cables to Apple’s App Store.
While it was initially approved, Apple followed in the footsteps of Mastercard and Amazon in distancing themselves from the storm by removing the application.
Paul Harwood, founder of internet publishing and advertising agency Synapa, said: “Apps are great, easy to use and fun but the devices they run on do have an odd relationship with consumers.
“It’s like spending a lot of money on a new car and the manufacturer dictating who you can and can’t have as a passenger in it.”
Launched ten years ago tomorrow, Wikipedia is now the world’s fifth most popular website with 410 million monthly users browsing more than 17 million articles.
Apple refused to comment on Wales’ concerns.