When Microsoft launched the Kinect, the device was a closed system that the software giant intended to keep under tight reins. The company charged for access to a developers kit, and quickly earned the enmity of the hacker community. That led to the now-famous Kinect hacking movement, which eventually forced Microsoft to accept that people wanted to build their own applications on top of the system.
Leap Motion decided from the beginning that turning to developers was the way to go. Now, the company envisions an app store where users who have bought the Leap can go to purchase a very wide range of applications built for the device.
“We believe that ultimately, the sheer number of use cases for this technology are so great that the value can only be realized by making it open,” Buckwald said. “So think what would have happened if the mouse had been initially been released as a closed technology. The impact would have been a tiny, tiny percentage of what the impact was because it was an open system that anyone could develop for.”