That might not be the best analogy. The most commonly-cited reason for Beta losing out to VHS seems to be the initial limitation of Beta to 1-hour tapes, which wasn't enough to record a movie from TV, or to play back a rented one without switching tapes partway through. By the time Beta increased its tape length, VHS had basically caught up from a quality standpoint, and its market share had reached the tipping point anyway.

I'm not entirely sure that TCP/IP and the other IETF RFCs became established because of restrictions placed on OSI. I was under the impression that OSI was also insanely complicated and that the IETF standards were much cheaper to implement from a technical standpoint. And, from a product standpoint, in the mid-90s, there were still a lot of bets being placed on closed online services like AOL, MSN, and Compuserve.


David Fiander wrote:

Well the obvious commercial example, sort of is that old favourite:
Beta (for which Sony charged a license fee and controlled who could
produce media) vs VHS (for which there was either no fee or a much
lower one, and not oversight of media producers).

On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 12:28 PM, Andrew
Hankinson<> wrote:
Have a look at the ongoing battles between MPEG4 and Ogg for the browser
video space. I don't know of your second criteria for b), however - not many
people are using Ogg (yet)


On 13-Jul-09, at 12:22 PM, Walter Lewis wrote:

Are there any blindingly obvious examples of instances where
  a) a standards group produced a standard published by a body which
charged for access to it
 b) a alternative standards groups produced a competing standard that was
openly accessible
and the work of group a) was rendered totally irrelevant because most
non-commercial work ignored it in favour of b).

My instinct is to quote the battle between OSI (ISO) and TCP/IP (IETF
RFCs).  Does that strike others as appropriate?

Any examples closer to the library world?

Walter Lewis

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