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The importance of open standards

I recently looked through my archives and was surprised to find that I hadn't blogged about this before as it's something I get quite passionate about.

Many companies try to set up proprietary standards in IT in an attempt to control the market. It's a horrible practice and needs to be stopped. Imagine if you bought a HP laptop, and then you wanted to connect a printer to it, and instead of a USB port, you needed to buy a printer with a specific HP-Connection. And that type of connector was different from a Dell connection, or Lenovo, or Toshiba, or Sony, or Acer, or ...

Having one standard type of connection benefits everyone. It makes life easier for the consumers and makes the IT industry as a whole develop faster.

A great example of this is things like Firewire vs USB. Many people would argue that Firewire was a better design but there were several patent issues as well as some weird copyright issues around the name leading to some companies calling it i.LINK, Lynx, or the generic IEEE 1394. Ultimately Firewire did not take off.

It shocks me that even though the EU passed a law that all phones sold in Europ must have a Micro USB (or later USB-C) charger, Apple blatantly flaunts this issue and continues to sell phones with their own proprietary connector.

I've lost count of the number of times people have asked me if I've got a phone charger. I've got Micro USB and USB-C and that will fit any phone made in the last 8 years, except the iPhone. It's not because I don't like Apple, it's because Apple refuses to support open standards. People wouldn't be as surprised if I didn't have the charger for a Nokia N-Gage, or an Ericsson T28 they would accept that it's an unusual phone and I can't hold every type of charger.

The next iPhone whatever version number that might be, would be no less great a phone if it was to come with USB-C.

Embrace open standard, it makes life easier for everyone.

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