24 September 2008

IBM's new standards participation policy

IBM has announced a new policy with regard to standards particiption. There are a couple of interesting things around this. Notably, this policy was developed by IBM employees using a Wiki. Quoting the policy:

The tenets of IBM's new policy are to:
  • Begin or end participation in standards bodies based on the quality and openness of their processes, membership rules, and intellectual property policies.
  • Encourage emerging and developed economies to both adopt open global standards and to participate in the creation of those standards.
  • Advance governance rules within standards bodies that ensure technology decisions, votes, and dispute resolutions are made fairly by independent participants, protected from undue influence.
  • Collaborate with standards bodies and developer communities to ensure that open software interoperability standards are freely available and implementable.
  • Help drive the creation of clear, simple and consistent intellectual property policies for standards organizations, thereby enabling standards developers and implementers to make informed technical and business decisions.

To me, it will be interesting to see how quickly IBM moves to adhere to this policy. Suppose there was a consortium that did not meet one of the tenets (eg. the first one) that was in an area of vital business interest to IBM. I wonder how they would respond?

1 comment:

JulioArauz said...


A quick comment regarding IBM's statement. It is not clear to me what IBM's position was in the past. All points seem to be aligned with a "common" position a company attending standards meeting would take. I would also argue that most companies probably have similar statements (maybe implicitly). Nevertheless, I think that some of IBM's statements are still utopian. For example, expecting that decisions are made by participants without undue influence. In my experience, companies use all sort of tricks to influence participants and standards. For instance, I have seen how Japanese companies blindly align with Japan's NICT views (also present in the meeting) without really considering the issues on the table. In my opinion, these things are inevitable and are part of the standards game.

In your opinion, is it realistic for IBM to assume no "hidden" interests will eventually arise and influence decisions?