No break up? GOOD!

  • Posted: 19 July 2001 01:48 PM

    I never did understand why Judge Jackson wanted to break up Microsoft. I have to assume it was a personal thing. I mean, Bill Gates CAN get under your skin if you had to look at him long enough. Still, that’s no reason to break up MS. I’ve said it before, breaking MS up is like lobbing off a head of a hydra, two more heads pop up to take the place of the one you’ve just put on the floor.

    No, what’s needed is a standards commitee. A government sponsored group of industry leaders (yeah, we can include Gates) whose sole mission is to create public standards for files format of every type. Such a board would go a long way towards leveling the commercial playing field and bolster competition. Why? Because app would be used because you like it, not because someone has rammed it down your throat. It won’t matter any longer whether you use Word, Word Perfect, or two rocks and a chisel, as long as you can save the results as a standard file then you are good to go.

    And it HAS to be government sponsored because it’s obvious ( to me anyway) that the commercial sector can’t seem to do it themselves. The government could sponsor it by forcing it’s agencies to use standard producing products only, thus waving a monetary carrot in front of the commercial boys. The actual standard making board would be made up of industry leaders, representatives from both app makers and users. Each could bring to the table their own views and resulting standard would allow for vendor specific add-ons (plug-ins).

    It could be that MS would still be dominate. That’s ok as long as they are forced to play by the rules.

    Signature

    "If only you could have seen what I’ve seen with your eyes." Roy, Blade Runner

    Vern Seward

         
  • Posted: 29 June 2001 09:43 AM #1

    An interesting post; I’m glad you’ve shared it with us. I strongly agree with some parts, and strongly disagree with others.

    I AGREE that MS need not be broken up. I think it should be forced to include competing technologies in its shipping OS, meaning Netscape, RealPlayer, QuickTime, AOL Instant Messenger, et cetera. It should be barred from programming Windows so that it trips up Real or Apple or AOL or whomever.

    I DISAGREE that there need be Bizantine regulation of standards, especially by the government. We’ve got a bit of a mess of file formats now-a-days, but the market will sort that out eventually. Creating strict standards regulation makes it harder for underdogs (like Apple, of course) to introduce new technologies. Fact is, no one knows right now which file formats will be most useful in the future. Set standards today; they’ll be obsolete tomorrow. And btw, while I put more faith than most in politicians, I don’t think they know enough about technology to be in control of its standards.

    Great post!

    Signature

    —Ricky Spero
    Anchor, The Apple Weekly Report
    The Mac Observer

         
  • Posted: 29 June 2001 12:28 PM #2

    The market will not sort much of anything out on its own, because it’s no longer a free market (if, in fact, it ever was).  That’s what the Findings of Fact says in so many words.

    For example, right now the first thing anyone asks when you tell them about an alternative office app is “can it read Word/Excel/Access documents?”  If not, it doesn’t matter if the app blows MS’ offerings out of the water in every other category: It’s no longer under consideration.

    Effective government intervention is quite possible, because the government is under no obligation to require MS to adhere to one particular standard.  For example:

    It could require that MS alter all of its applications so that they can save their data in a publically available format.  Whether MS chooses the government-standard SGML, the W3C-standard XML, or the public domain TeX is up to them, as long as they choose a non-proprietary standard.

    It could require that MS freely publish its file formats as they adopt them.  This allows MS to design formats that have all the features they need, and use them however they want, with the only condition being that they document the format so that other vendors can import from (and export to) MS’ formats.  Then Word’s .DOC format could remain a de facto standard, but it could no longer be used to shut out competitors.  This is what Adobe already does with PDF.

    Both of these measures would have the desired effect of lowering the barriers to competition with MS, and would simultaneously address the problem (which the government is well aware of) that it moves slowly.

    Signature


    James

    Dystopia, n: A utopia, in practice.

         
  • Posted: 29 June 2001 12:44 PM #3

    Ricky, you state:

    [[[I AGREE that MS need not be broken up.]]]

    Yeah, we gathered that from previous posts. Still, let’s see what you propose to be a “fair” and acceptable remedy to reestablish a free, fair and open market…

    [[[I think it should be forced to include competing technologies in its shipping OS, meaning Netscape, RealPlayer, QuickTime, AOL Instant Messenger, et cetera.]]]

    That’s original. Funny thing is that’s exactly what people and the Gov. have been “hoping” for the longest time; ever since Microsoft’s first “appearance” (I love that word now *wink*) in court for the VERY SAME anticompetitive practices. They were given plenty of time to change their ways (on their own). As for insisting that they include “alternate” plug-ins from other companies well, I’d have to say it would be too little too late. The damage has been done. People are used to the features that were bundled. Besides, why would they want to change? For your proposal to have any chance whatsoever to be effective, they would have to leave out I.E. completely and instal Netscape instead. Woops!, that’s right, in six months we won’t equate Netscape with a browser company anymore… OK so much for Netscape. They will have to install Opera or some other browser. For Microsoft to include QuickTime or Real they would have to lop-off media player… et cetera… The fact is, people [usually] stick with what comes preinstalled with the OS and hardly consider an alternative. What would be the consumer’s incentive to seek alternatives? Again, not from your perspective, but rather from the perspective of the millions of half-informed, less knowledgeable “average-Joe” users out there. Again, is there a guaranteed value behind your proposition that would reestablish a free, open and fair market? What about compared to alternative measures? Likewise, can Microsoft guarantee that competitors wares will function as smoothly as Microsoft’s own? Without any malicious code to trip it up? Nevertheless, we must be aware that Microsoft is the sole “dealer of the deck”. It has intimate knowledge of the Windows source code and the tools that are provided to work with it. Many of which are not privy to the competitors. It’s like saying to a group of artists: “Paint me a picture that will go well in my living room, I’ll do the same and we can choose which is the best fit (aesthetically) afterwards”, but none of the competition gets to see the inside of the house. Still, for quality of product for Windows OS, Microsoft still holds a big advantage over the competitors that develop for that OS.

    [[[It should be barred from programming Windows so that it trips up Real or Apple or AOL or whomever.]]]

    That’s a great idea. However, this should have been done right from the start. How would the Gov. make sure of this? Are you proposing that they Open Windows source code and make it available for review? What if no evidence of such was found in the first place? It won’t matter much, Microsoft has been given plenty of time to “sterilize” their code. How about forcing them to forego any new bells, whistles and buzzers and instead FIX the OS and make it work in the first place. That’s far better than upgrading people continuously, making them believe that by upgrading, their bugs will be eradicated. And who will foot the bill for the inspections?

    [[[I DISAGREE that there need be Bizantine regulation of standards, especially by the government.]]]

    Then by whom?

    Funny, I keep thinking how ENORMOUS the General Electric company is. Yet, if they were to go out of business tomorrow, there would be plenty of competitors that would flow right in and fill the gap. Funny how all of their products conform to one standard (UL) or another. Imagine if you wanted to use GE lightbulbs, but they only fit GE lamps and sockets? Likewise for the lamps to work, you need the appropriate wall outlet… And so on. Government standards are a good thing. You make a statement, but provide no outline as to why you feel standards are bad. As for the “industry” being the determining factor, I’d have to say that it too failed, since we are already currently in this mess. The industry had sufficient time to curtail Microsoft and still they weren’t kept in check.

    [[[ We’ve got a bit of a mess of file formats now-a-days, but the market will sort that out eventually. ]]]

    How long do you suppose it will take? By saying “eventually” or “over time” you are you are engaging in the wishful thinking fallacy. You have “faith” that the system will correct itself. This is a post hoc fallacy.

    The Friedman assumption states that the market will correct the corrupt and abusive behavior of companies such as Microsoft,  because companies will presumably be forced to behave in more “responsible” way since they have to provide a quality product and are under continuous customer scrutiny. Yet, you do not provide any examples of companies that follow this model (Ideal?).

    Average-Joe’s are not concerned about or even realize that M$ is stifling innovation by way of monopolistic practices.  As far as they are concerned M$ “appears” to offer a quality product at a reasonable price. On the other hand, other companies in the very same market are far too dependent on Micro$oft for their own business and successful livelihood to oppose their practices. They’ve been assimilated. So, unless there is some intervention from an “outside” entity we will be forced to comply with whatever Micro$oft has set forth. Just look at how much already depends on M$ and their wares. That being the case, the more dependent our society becomes on a particular product or company the more we loose in the long run. Remember, Micro$oft main agenda is profit maximizing and control.

    [[[Creating strict standards regulation makes it harder for underdogs (like Apple, of course) to introduce new technologies.]]]

    How?

    Oddly, you seem to erroneously equate “Gov. regulation” with “counterproductive”.  History provides us with more than enough evidence to show that the free market system cannot be completely and entirely trusted to maintain a free and competitive market on it’s own without some form of outside regulation; Gov. or otherwise. If it did, there wouldn’t be a Microsoft Antitrust trial to begin with. 

    [[[Fact is, no one knows right now which file formats will be most useful in the future. Set standards today; they’ll be obsolete tomorrow. ]]]

    By who’s count? Yours? Firewire is TRUE STANDARD. It isn’t going away any time soon. Take any TRUE standard and you will see that they are still in use in some form or another. This is a completely unsupported statement that you have cooked up. It then distills down into “Why bother with standards? They will be obsolete tomorrow”. That’s just plain ridiculous.

    [[[ And btw, while I put more faith than most in politicians]]]

    You certainly do.

    [[[ I don’t think they know enough about technology to be in control of its standards]]]

    Appeal to (false) authority. Then I ask, who should be?

    Cheers,

    Ed M.

         
  • Posted: 29 June 2001 03:14 PM #4

    Wow. Seems I’m fit to be a feast. Anyway, among the above and other posts, I think I’ve answered a lot of your concerns already. I’ll deal here with one that seem outstanding.

    In the tech industry (as in all markets) it is the responsibility of consumers to determine which products are fit for survival. Two years ago, they were trying to decide what browser to pick. MS largely made up their minds by “bundling” it with Netscape, preventing Netscape from doing the same. Now consumers are trying to pick how to play music electronically. They’re choosing among WMP, Real, and QT. They’re also trying to decide how to send instant messages.

    You asked how I suggest we remedy the “Microsoft problem” without breaking up the company? I say that the courts should order MS to ship its OS with all the competing technologies preloaded onto it. If MS appears to be tripping up its competitors by coding windows to favor MS’s technologies, that can be decided in Federal Court on a case-by-case basis, and it can be ordered to meet certain standards of compatibility. That’s an entirely feasibly solution.

    One other note, said humbly: I suggest you read my previous post a little more carefully, than revisit your last post. Perhaps you’ll find that it ignores the content of my post in favor of ranting aggressively.

    Signature

    —Ricky Spero
    Anchor, The Apple Weekly Report
    The Mac Observer

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 29 June 2001 03:24 PM #5

    Bah!

    The government deciding what should and should not be included in the OS is not at all the right solution!  What happens with the next technology?  Shall the government review each and every new application and decide what should be bundled?  Don’t even get me started on the notion of government set standards!  Government should NOT be setting standards except where public health and safety is concerned.

    The problem here is not that MS bundled IE with their OS, the problem is that the company constantly seeks to leverage their monopoly power in operating systems and productivity suites from to new markets.  Only by breaking up the company can you prevent that. 

    The argument about lopping off the Hydra’s head isn’t even relevant unless those heads can be controlled by remote control.  The new companies will not be centrally controlled or owned, and they won’t share management.

    I tried to finish a comprehensive editorial on this today, but I didn’t have time.  Glad I could rant here. 

    Signature

    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Posted: 29 June 2001 05:27 PM #6

    Nope, I’m not going to let you get away with that.

    There’s no reason to believe that if Microsoft received a severe reprimand from the courts, along with an order to do what I suggested before (include competing software in the shipping OS) that it wouldn’t learn what’s acceptable and what’s not. AT&T was a regulated monopoly for years before it was split up.

    If you’re such a proponent of small government and minimal regulation, why would you use such a severe tool to stop MS? Why use a jackhammer when all you need is a scalpel?

    Who knows? Maybe MS would continue to misbehave and would need to be broken up. But right now, it’s not necessary. Let’s solve THIS problem, then see if more pop up.

    Signature

    —Ricky Spero
    Anchor, The Apple Weekly Report
    The Mac Observer

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 29 June 2001 05:32 PM #7

    I am a proponent of using the tool that is the right size for the job.  Part of the reason why MS was sued this last time around is because they violated the *last* dissent decree they had that was designed to curb their behavior.  In addition, the company has *consistently* said that they have done nothing wrong.

    In addition, there has been a pattern of abusive behavior for years, and there is no reason to give the company yet another chance.  They had the opportunity to behave like a good corporate citizen, and they showe dthey didn’t care.

    The government should be as small as possible, but there comes a time when it must act.  This is that time.

    Signature

    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Posted: 29 June 2001 05:40 PM #8

    On 2001-06-29 20:32, Bryan wrote:
    The government should be as small as possible, but there comes a time when it must act.  This is that time.

    Ick. I can only read that as hypocritical. MS has never been punished for being wrong before, so there’s no reason for MS to admit that it’s been bad. Give them one chance, at least. Make very clear what’s acceptable and what’s not, set guidelines for moving forward, and if they’re violated, screw ‘em.

    But don’t blast it apart until you know that that’s the only way.

    btw, I agree that MS has failed to be good corporate citizens. But we can’t use Law to punish moral wrongdoing. That’s not how our system works. And like I said, while the system ain’t perfect, it’s the best one out there. It’s the best system ever made. Period.

     

    Signature

    —Ricky Spero
    Anchor, The Apple Weekly Report
    The Mac Observer

         
  • Posted: 29 June 2001 10:56 PM #9

    Ricky, you stated:

    [[[ Ick. I can only read that as hypocritical. ]]]

    Why? Bryan has clearly stated that Gov. should not intervene unless the need arises. The time is now. The right tool for the right job. Clearly, as I’ve stated in my last post, the system is failing because there is no free and open market with respect to desktop OS’s. Furthermore, the system has failed to correct itself. You continue to engage in wishful thinking. Which, is still a fallacy. Period. I’ve outlined that earlier in my previous post. The system has been given 15+ years to correct the problem. It hasn’t. It might work in some instances, but it didn’t work this time. The infection of dependency is too great. I stated the GE example earlier. I doubt that same example could hold true if in my example, GE was replaced by M$. What if M$ went completely out of business tomorrow? What then? Who would be there to step up to the plate? There isn’t anyone. The fact that GE follows a set of standards that the rest of the industry follows means that it’s easy for others in the same related industry to fill the gap. After all, if I can’t buy or use GE light bulbs anymore I can choose Phillips, Sylvania et. al.  You have so much blind faith in the current system that’s it’s clouding your position. You are ignoring the wealth of facts and evidence that contradict (to a point) your belief. That’s a “Non-sequitur”. Again, AMPLE time was given for the market to correct this malfunction. It hasn’t, the infection spread and now a different tool is required. Remember, as I’ve stated before, Gov. regulation needn’t be “counter productive”. Sill I feel that I need to provide several examples to make my point about the “faith” you have in the market and how it has become self-deceiving. First, your belief in the system is so motivated it can be inferred that it might be more flawed than you think due to your lack of ability to evaluate evidence properly. It’s a kind of moral flaw, a kind of dishonesty, and irrational. For example:

    You have a cold, so you drink fluids and two weeks later your cold goes away. You now feel that you have developed a good system and start to believe in it. You have a headache so you stand on your head, pat your stomach and sing my darling clementine and six hours later your headache is gone. The market reacts after 20 years of delay and sandbagging, all in a way that you recognize and equate as “doing what it was planned to do” and again, a belief of “effectiveness” is held. The problem in this case, is the time differential. It’s taking too long. Like believing that an alternate herbal remedy is going to cure advanced and progressive cancer.

    [[[MS has never been punished for being wrong before, so there’s no reason for MS to admit that it’s been bad.]]]

    I’m not sure it’s about punishment as much as it is about reestablishing a free, open and fair market for the destop OS’s

    [[[Give them one chance, at least. ]]]

    That is a joke right?  They’ve been given 15 years plus!

    [[[But we can’t use Law to punish moral wrongdoing.]]]

    What should be done. Clearly nothing has worked thus far… Furthermore, who said anything about direct punishment. It’s about establishing something that was taken away by M$. Namely, a free market.

    [[[That’s not how our system works.]]]

    No kidding?

    [[[I said, while the system ain’t perfect, it’s the best one out there. It’s the best system ever made. Period.]]]

    There’s that belief again ... committing subjectivism and appealing to tradition… Still, I’ll tend to go along with that statement in that it’s the best, but does that imply that it isn’t open for improvement and refinement?

    Cheers,

    Ed M.

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 30 June 2001 12:24 AM #10

    Hey Ricky,

    I am not sure if you know this, though I mentioned it above, Microsoft made a settlement in an antitrust case in the mid-90s.  That settlement included a consent decree about bundling technology into Windows with the intent to undercut the competition.

    They violated this when they chose to “build IE into Windows,” something that was patently ludicrous.  This is what sparked the current antitrust trial.

    So again, they have had their chance, and they failed.  How many chances do you think they should get?

    The company stifles innovation and will continue to do so at any cost.

    _________________
    Bryan
    The Mac Observer

    Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in their success, but in the way they achieved and maintain that success.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Bryan on 2001-06-30 03:25 ]</font>

    Signature

    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Posted: 30 June 2001 06:24 AM #11

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, I’m current not in the States.

    All interesting points and obsevations. Seems th line is drawn between government intervention and allowing MS and the industry do their own policing.

    I don’t believe the commercial sector can police itself, the attraction of money is too great. It’s like telling a kid with a sweet tooth to go sit in a candy store but don’t touch anything.

    There are plenty of examples of a system where government back industry standards work and work well. Someone earlier mentioned the UL standard, a great example. And I’m don’t propose that the government dictate standards for OS, browsers, and the like. That would be silly. In fact, the government should dictate anything, but it can lend its blessing on any standard that is obviously an aid to the industry and the general public. Such standards won’t kill competition, just the opposite, it will foster all sorts of competition. The little guy writing a shareware word processor can earn a living while the Word Perfects and Microsofts of the world continue to earn profit if their product warrants it to do so.

    Standards is the way.

    Signature

    "If only you could have seen what I’ve seen with your eyes." Roy, Blade Runner

    Vern Seward

         
  • Posted: 30 June 2001 07:07 AM #12

    On 2001-06-29 11:57, VSeward wrote:
    “...breaking MS up is like lobbing off a head of a hydra, two more heads pop up to take the place of the one you’ve just put on the floor.

    No, what’s needed is a standards commitee. A government sponsored group of industry leaders (yeah, we can include Gates) whose sole mission is to create public standards for files format of every type. Such a board would go a long way towards leveling the commercial playing field and bolster competition. Why? Because app would be used because you like it, not because someone has rammed it down your throat. It won’t matter any longer whether you use Word, Word Perfect, or two rocks and a chisel, as long as you can save the results as a standard file then you are good to go.

    And it HAS to be government sponsored because it’s obvious ( to me anyway) that the commercial sector can’t seem to do it themselves. ..
    ...It could be that MS would still be dominate. That’s ok as long as they are forced to play by the rules.”

    There are standards commitees now that cover almost all the important technologies.  Microsoft can be curbed without breakup by being forced to adhere to them. Embrace and extend must be ended.

    In the same way that the FCC controls the airwaves and TV standards, give them the mandate to establish standards for video conferencing, instant messaging, anything that comunicates information, after all they are the Federal Communications Commision. make interoperability and open standards a requirement to partcipate. This would level the playing field.

    If TV is important enough for the government to establish standards for all to follow, shouldn’t computing be the same?

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 30 June 2001 12:37 PM #13

    The difference between the areas where the government has controlled standards and the computer industry is that the controlled areas change very little.  In addition, they are filled with a sort of corruption that is inherently wrong. 

    By the time it would take any government sanctioned group to review any new technology, “test” it, and approve it, the free market could have improved on it 20 times.  That is the truth with areas that are currently heavily regulated.  Look at the mess with California’s energy system which was deregulated on he supply side and strictly regulated on the consumer side.  It’s a catastrophe.

    The entire computer industry does NOT need to be regulated.  Microsoft has effectively stopped the free market in some areas, and it is Microsoft that is the problem (never mind that others would also have sought to *be* today’s Microsoft, it was a series of accidents that led to their ascension to power!).  The solution to the current “problem” is to permanently change Microsoft’s *ability* to stop the free market.  That permanent change is to separate the company into several companies (I favor OS, Productivity, Internet Services, and Networking Services). 

    I also favor the idea that all of those new companies be free to do as they wish.  The reason why this is the solution is because one company will not be able to leverage its market share from its own market into another.  The OS company can’t put in secret hooks into its OSs for applications, and the Internet Services company can’t tie in their Web page development apps to their servers.  Etc.  The companies are left competing against each other and the rest of the market on their own merits.

    If you bring in the government in some sort of regulatory capacity, the entire industry will be brought to its knees.

    Signature

    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Posted: 30 June 2001 02:08 PM #14

    Aphelion writes:

    [[[There are standards commitees now that cover almost all the important technologies. Microsoft can be curbed without breakup by being forced to adhere to them. Embrace and extend must be ended. ]]]

    Not so ure about that. M$ will argue that it does indeed adhere to standards. In fact what M$ does is take an open standard and utilize it in some proprietary way. And. as for Gov. backed standards well, It’s not like the Gov doesn’t have and topnotch scientists of their own. We shouldn’t underestimate the R&D of the Gov. The military for example.

    [[[In the same way that the FCC controls the airwaves and TV standards, give them the mandate to establish standards for video conferencing, instant messaging, anything that comunicates information, after all they are the Federal Communications Commision. make interoperability and open standards a requirement to partcipate. This would level the playing field. ]]]

    A good idea, but the damage has been done and the infection too widely dispersed. It’s something that should have been started YEARS ago. Not all of a sudden after we find that the system couldn’t police itself in this particular matter. It didn’t work because as mentioned earlier By VSeward:

    [[[ “the attraction of money is too great. It’s like telling a kid with a sweet tooth to go sit in a candy store but don’t touch anything.” ]]] 

    To top it off, the system has been functioning so long with this infection spreading continuously for YEARS that people are now beginning to fall for or believe yet another fallacy.. It sounds something like this:

    “Well, if you obviously let it go this long without intervention; Then you obviously didn’t see a need to. Why all of sudden a need to interfere?”

    That is called Denying the antecedent Similar to Affirming the consequent

    The answer is simple, your word was trusted and you were granted the benefit of the doubt that the system would police itself; Instead it ran amuck. As the infection spread other related industries sought to gain profit and followed NOT the standards or even the BETTER technologies. Rather, they chose to cater to market share, to go where it went because it was the “easy money maker”. So, the industry did not police itself in the manner that the idea was sold on.

    [[[If TV is important enough for the government to establish standards for all to follow, shouldn’t computing be the same?]]]

    Indeed. Except one of the problems was that the industry INSISTED that NO standards were needed because the idea was that the industry would police itself. It didn’t happen and now something needs to be done.

    Oh, and case anyone was curious, here is a list of Apple created standards:

    - Apple created 1394 - FireWire. Which the rest of the industry
      is coming on board.

    - QuickRing - a fast secondary bus scheme used on high end
      cards.

    - Versit / GeoPort - the fast serial in the back of Macs

    - 66MHz PCI - Apple is on the committee

    - OpenBoot standard for PCI cards - of course PC’s don’t support the standard.

    - DYLAN language and environment

    - Object Pascal with Nicholas Virth

    - OpenDoc

    - TrueType

    - Bento (Cross platform document architecture)

    Taken from this site:

    http://www.mackido.com/Myths/openness.html

    Cheers,

    Ed M.

         
  • Posted: 01 July 2001 01:07 AM #15

    To Bryan:

    You said that the entire industry does not need to be regulated, I beg to differ.

    The software industry is largely in shambles because of the lack of standards. One only needs to look at the few shining examples where standards have taken hold inspite of industry preassure against them to see how well the industry and the consumer benefits from them. Networking standards established long before industry players could warp them, such as Ethernet (802.3), have become the backbone of the industry. Apple and others tried to go it with their own network standard, but the more established one won. That’s as it should be. Now imagine what the world would be like if Ethernet hadn’t established and open to the public. Competing standards would have meant that there would have been not such thing as the Internet as we know it today. There would have been exclusive networks that may barely be able to talk to others. Chaos.

    Chaos is what we currently have when it comes to dealing with files. I can’t read a Word doc without skinning 5 cats and running naked during a new moon. And every word processor is different. The industry has had the opportunity to correct this, but no one seems interested. Why? Because they can see any profit in it. Never mind that it could benefit everyone, including themselves and thier customers.

    I’m not saying that a government sponsored body would do a better job of making standards, there have been governent sponsored failures, to be sure. But there needs to be a focus, an overriding influence that the commecial sector cannot ignore. We need a 800 pound gorilla in order to keep companies on the straight and narrow. The US government is it. Unfortunately, that’s is the way of it, but the results of such a body could really propel the industry forward, if done right. Now is as good a time as any.

    Signature

    "If only you could have seen what I’ve seen with your eyes." Roy, Blade Runner

    Vern Seward