Platform proliferation limiting mobile content?

So carriers have been preaching the need for platform standardization in the cellphone space for some time now, most notably with Vodafone's commitment to tossing anything that isn't Windows Mobile-, Symbian-, or Linux-based to the curb. The popular reasoning for the move, if you listen to the carriers explain it, is that the current sitch limits their ability to offer rich content and makes doing so significantly more expensive. Here's what we don't understand: only a small handful of mobile operating systems dominate carriers' smartphone offerings as it is -- Symbian (in its various flavors), Windows Mobile, Garnet, and BlackBerry -- and eliminating any one of those from the average carrier's lineup would rile up a healthy percentage of its customer base, while non-smartphone devices do a pretty good job unifying content as it is with Java, Flash, and the like. So what's the bellyaching all about? Are the carriers putting together a case for reducing handset offerings that are already, in some cases, embarrassingly anemic? Besides, the concern centers around their ability to offer content directly, a concern obviously rooted in profitmaking; some software publishers have apparently raised the same issue, but as long as every platform out there is shored up with a vibrant developer and enthusiast community, carrier-backed content can happily take a back seat as far as we're concerned.

[Via Slashdot]