There are lots of discussions happening in the blogosphere about what is the definition of Open (when talking about Android vs. iPhone). Many of these discussions are around open source software (OSS). But there are other views as well to be considered when talking about the “openness”.
There is open from the open source software (OSS) point of view. From this perspective, the Android stack is not 100% open (parts are proprietary by Google or 3rd party) and the iPhone is not open at all. This is a technology view.
And there is open from the legal perspective, in this case, Android is much more open than iPhone (as Apple doesn’t license iOS). This is a legal view.
And there is open from the network perspective. Here operators, while still in control, now are much more open to the idea of OSS and the handsets/OSes they support; even for “unsupported” devices that pop up on their network and cause them headaches. The beneficiary is the user/subscriber. This is a subscriber view.
Openness do have implications on fragmentation, but this is the topic of a different blog.