June 1, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

Dumb Mobs

Why offer technology that empowers people to do cool things when you can hobble it to force them to buy cool things?

So asks a report by Mako Analysis on SymbianOS phones, which are evidently too smart for their own good:

New mobile devices based on a version of the Symbian OS are a serious threat to mobile operator revenue streams, according to consultancy Mako Analysis. Savvy users can use devices running on Symbian's Series 60 operating system (OS) to completely bypass a range of services that are normally charged for by their mobile operator, the UK-based consultancy warned on Monday. While the threat is currently minimal, the loophole has the potential to cause major headaches for operators.

"Savvy user"/EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer responds: "Open handsets let users choose their applications, which have to compete on pure value. Sure, lock-in is nice for sellers -- until buyers bypass the locked-in route altogether. Companies who take the path Mako recommends are just clearing the way for others to listen to their (former) customers."

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