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That isn't always a bad outcome. They have to support
what they sell as long as they entered into maintenance
contracts. Otherwise, liquidated damages follow.
And the Justice Department won't call it collusion unless
they are secretly planning. The specification organizations
give them a management system for cooperation. They still
have to write and submit specification drafts.
De facto standards dominate the Internet. That's what
successful technologies built over specifications are.
The best way to solve the boring standards work problem
is to use organizations competent at managing the boring
phase. Use ISO. Again, the right people at the right
place doing the work they are good at. This is obvious.
From: Jonathan Robie [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
At 10:03 AM 4/25/2002 -0700, Paul Prescod wrote:
>Okay, but let's acknowledge market realities: as we've seen many times,
>when the standards body refuses to take the lead, vendors do. And what
>happens is that industry's technologies become "de facto standards."
>This puts "leading vendors" in a position to use their power to redirect
>the standards landscape unilaterally.
Worse yet, if two or more of these vendors try to agree on one way of doing
things, it can be seen as collusion by the Justice Department, and the
companies can be sued for trying to cooperate. This is why the HTML browser
vendors were so keen to have a body to oversee their cooperation, and it's
an important factor in most W3C Working Groups.
One might argue that W3C recommendations should be treated as openly agreed
industry standards. One might also argue that there should be some way to
decide which standards still matter in five years, clean them up, and do
the boring standards work Mike prefers at that point.