You wrote that "The fact is, Amazon Web Services APIs are open enough." If I may paraphrase, you are arguing that a proprietary API, used to access a proprietary service, is "open enough" if it is "open for anyone to USE."
Please allow me to respectfully submit that this definition is fundamentally flawed and intensely misleading.
In the 1990's, as a Microsoft employee, I sold this very same argument on Microsoft's behalf: that the Windows API was "open enough."
AMAZINGLY, people bought this argument, back then. Every line of code that they wrote to Windows' API locked them more firmly into (a) the Windows API and hence into (b) Microsoft as the sole vendor of that API (failed "zombie projects" such as WINE, WABI, and Bristol aside). Writing a line of code to the Windows API was like giving Microsoft a line of credit against your future earnings...but people did it, because it gave them a short-term time-to-market advantage.
SURELY, the industry hasn't forgotten Microsoft's utter dominance of the PC computing industry...has it? Have we forgotten that Microsoft's dominance was based ENTIRELY on the choice, by independent software developers, to target Microsoft's proprietary Windows API? Have we forgotten why Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, worked up a sweat jumping around on stage chanting "developers, developers, developers, developers" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8To-6VIJZRE)?
An API that is 'open for anyone to use,' but which is not defined by "open source, open design, open development, and open community" is NOT open. It is a "proprietary API." There's nothing open about it -- except that it is an "open invitation to vendor lock-in."
API lock-in is inevitable. Every paradigm needs its API standard, and every line of code written to that API locks in that standard even further. The issue, therefore, is not API lock-in; it's VENDOR lock-in. What is needed is a vendor-independent API, backed up by vendor-independent code.
Fortunately, for the cloud computing paradigm, that vendor-neutral API standard already exists: OpenStack (of which my employer, Rackspace, is a co-creator). OpenStack's APIs are truly open, are developed by an open process, with open governance, and are backed up by open source implementations. OpenStack's open source and open APIs have been adopted by a "who's who" of the computing industry (http://openstack.org/community/companies), and their contributions have made it the fastest-growing open source project in history.
Why are these companies adopting OpenStack? In brief, because they understand the difference between 'proprietary APIs' (such as Amazon's) and 'open APIs' (such as OpenStack's).
And now, Jay, I hope that you do, too. :-)
Director, Developer Relations