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FT on IT Standards

   The Financial times today has four-page insert on the
   complexity and difficulty of developing international
   standards for all types of products. There is a passing
   mention of the Internet security issue. An article on
   standards for IT confirms Perry's oft-made points about the
   slow pace, protracted angling for market share, and the by-
   pass of standards by market go-getters who foster messes.
   Here are quotes on the last point:

      Paul Callahan of Forrester Research: "When a company
      owns a market they can determine the pace -- a company
      in its early stages of domination can move the ball
      forward swiftly -- such as the Internet Web software
      provider Netscape. Netscape didn't spend a lot of time
      with standards bodies -- it simply joined forces with
      MasterCard to co-develop Secure Courier, much as
      Microsoft enrolled Visa to develop its STT, Secure
      Transaction Technology. Only afterwards are the
      overtures made to standards bodies. That's commerce, and
      it's the way things are in the real world."

      Henry Ryan, convenor of the Iso-IEC JTC1 ad hoc working
      group on GII: "People ask, 'Can you afford to wait for
      standards?' I'd turn it round. If you don't, you suffer
      in the long term and end up with an unholy mess. If
      people do their own thing then the benefits -- and the
      problems -- may not be concentrated in one sector of the
      industry. We're finding that with the convergence of
      technologies, such as the superhighway, it isn't enough
      to develop standards for the IT sector, 
      or consumer electronics individually."