Why do competitors collaborate and to what extent?

Sometimes, ideas for my blogs come from two distinct stories that I link in my own mind ..

Here is something to think of

I have been sceptical of the HTML5 standardization processes since it shows what is wrong with existing way of creating standards. Having said that, HTML5 itself is a good idea and it is gaining traction not because it will be a ‘standard’ but because it is a market need(for instance offline browsing) and also that we now have one major vendor supporting it (Google). So, HTML5 itself will do very well as we can see from this post from O Reilly on HTML5.

Also ..

We now have other browser vendors supporting it i.e. Opera, Mozilla and Safari(who are essentially competitors)

So,

When do competitors collaborate and to what extent?

Which is indeed the crux of the ‘standards’ argument since it essentially needs competing companies to come together for some ‘goal’ – even when the ‘standard’ as in created by the standardization body – is many years away

As Dave Clark described the philosophy of the IETF with regard to internet standardization, “We reject: kings, presidents, and voting. We believe in: rough consensus and running code.”

Nick allott CTO of OMTP also made the same point when he spoke at our event at Oxford this year

This brings me to the second question:

To what extent do competitor collaborate and why?

As I watch the popularity of Twitter .. I think a VERY useful application for me would be to create automatic tweets from links I share in Google reader. Apparently, this is not very hard to do i.e. creating tweets from links I share in Google reader

It is however not a ‘feature’ of Google reader(at least not yet)

It would be a VERY useful feature but it would benefit Twitter at the expense of Google and the two compete as in Google execs admit Twitter’s winning real-time game

Also, the Google algorithm itself not ‘open’ like the original wikia

So, the question is:

1) Standards need competitors to collaborate – when do they do so(even when it is not a standard as per a standardization body)

And

2) Even if it were ‘open’ as in wikia – we still go for the closed algorithm because it is better. So, at what point do we stop caring for ‘Open’ and get down to business?

comments welcome as usual