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People should read David Turner's article first.
He makes cogent arguments, and experience shows
the value of patent licensing over surrendering
rights to other companies (See Intel vs Intergraph)
without complaint. The part Simon quoted is the
conclusion, but not the whole case. Without
looking for threats, one might summarize that
given RF-only, it is not that the W3C will cease
to be a spec-producing organization, but that
the class of technologies for which it is able
to offer RF specifications narrows considerably
and possibly, so will its membership. Ok, we
just have to accept that if we want RF-only.
Are the trends you think applicable from the W3C
spec adoption sustainable in the future? IOW, is
that a merely historical or an inevitable trend?
I'm not for patents in W3C specs, but I think your
argument has holes. It depends on greed too,
and in a money game, there are other strategies.
The argument revolves around creating market with
standards, not creating products for which a market
has already been created or for truly innovative
products which are easily sold but readily copied
W3C specs related originally to pieces of the infrastructure
that were tough to market without giving them away.
There are products that are more successful if
other companies can build them correctly at low
to no cost. Browsers were thought to be that, but
aren't. They are loss leaders. HTTP servers are
a good example of the kind of tech that an RF-spec
can make more attractive: a commodity with no value
unless adopted widely.
What about others? If the property is interesting
enough that a lot of companies want to produce it to sell
instead of give away or simply package into
other products for good will, it's more profitable
to patent and license than to go even the RAND route.
Patent licensing is lucrative in the extreme. Much
better than RANDing. RANDing forces one to be
"reasonable and non-discriminatory". Patent
licenses don't have that impact.
Does that pass the bottle to everyone?
No. We may not see a decent binary XML because MPEG
encumbered the best idea first. Perfectly legal. Good for
all concerned; no, but we can't make them care.
Pick your goose accordingly but this comes down to
following one that leads to eggs. In at least
some cases, you may be following a gander.
From: Patrick Durusau [mailto:email@example.com]
Until someone can make the case that RAND based web standards will have
the same adoption curve as present W3C standards, the minority of
vendors who might profit from RAND would do well to contain their greed.
They could well be about to kill the goose that is laying golden eggs.