Tethering is the creation of a dependence (tight coupling, binding) by a supplier, in a situation where a consumer may have a reasonable expectation of independence (loose coupling, zero coupling).
1. RealNetworks has recently launched a service to download music onto
Apple iPods. Apple regards this as an invasion of its tethering. The
blogs I read are generally supportive of RealNetworks.
Off-shore software developers may put in unauthorized coupling between
software modules/components, in order to increase subsequent maintenance
Tethering represents a clash between the supplier's
view of the world and the consumers' view. (We call this Asymmetric
Demand.) Sometimes it stems from a deliberate plan to exploit a
commercial position or from bloodymindedness. But sometimes the supplier
feels that the position is morally defensible and in the best interests
of consumers (if they but knew it.) Surely iTunes provides all the
flexibility and functionality anyone could want??