Standards are standards

Apparently Steve Gillmor has a new blog, the first entry being an interview with Sun EVP Jonathan Schwartz … A couple interesting quotes:

We live by the same sword that we die by. Standards are standards, and when you’re leading the market you hate standards, and when you’re lagging the market you love standards. But you’re not always guaranteed to be in one position or another.

The only stakeholder here that is guaranteed to always love standards is the customer, and we all live or die by the customers. Which is exactly why the EU must accept the proposal by the EU Parliament, which will allow patents to be violated if required for interoperability.

Actually, let me put it like this: I don’t think there’s a single customer in the EU who demands “and I want this piece of software to not be able to talk to this other piece of software”. This is never a customer requirement, it is always something imposed by the vendors, by the industry, for the sake of themselves, the current leaders, hurting customers and competition in the process.

What happens when customers can’t get what they want, and competition is stifled? Productivity slows. Growth slows. Users literally waste time every day going through complicated routines which are only required because software is artificially made to not talk to each other. Wasted time, lost productivity.

Or customers who are forced to by from the leaders who have the local monopolies pay more for the software than what a free market would charge, which means less money for investment, job creation, growth in that company. Again, the direct consequence of lack of standards and interoperability is diminished productivity growth.

Which in turn means lower standards of living, higher taxes, and poorer public services for all, regardless of which industry they’re in. Is that really what we want?

On to the interview. Let me conclude with quoting the last QA pair:

Some have suggested that IBM might move toward C#?

[...] I’ve never in the history of computing seen any Microsoft technology benefit anyone other than Microsoft. If IBM’s actually thinking about that they should repeat carefully: the difference between white mice and humans is that white mice learn.


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!

Leave a comment