The IEEE has replaced the top four officers of the group working on developing the 802.20 standard for wireless broadband, following complaints (largely from Intel) that Qualcomm was exerting undue influence on the process. It wasn't hard to be swayed by those complaints, considering the chairman of the group was a Qualcomm consultant -- underlining the claim that the company had stacked the group with paid consultants that voted in line with Qualcomm's interests. The IEEE says it will put in place new procedures to select neutral leadership, but that's not really the root of the problem here. The problem stems from the intellectual property rights policies standards bodies have, which make them less bastions of market-advancing cooperation and more cabals of market-restricting manipulation by companies looking to establish their intellectual property as toll booths for big markets. Ultimately, it's unsustainable, unless the standards bodies adopt and enforce policies to ensure fair, or even royalty-free, licensing. The benefits standardization delivers will be outweighed by the cost of implementing technologies mired in high intellectual property payments.
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