On Broken Windows, Pointless Patents, Standard Battles And DVDs No One Wants
from the well,-it's-doing-something dept
Many folks are familiar with the so-called broken window fallacy, where people think that breaking something should be considered good for overall productivity, since it creates more work to do. It seems that perhaps we're facing a similar story with the ongoing (and ridiculous boring) next generation DVD standards battle. There are, of course, two main standards fighting it out, and neither side will agree to just create one standard to focus on. That basically slows down everything. Consumers won't buy because they don't want a DVD player that only is going to play a fraction of available movies (or, worse, get stuck with the "losing" side and have nothing to show for it). Studios hate to pick sides for the same reason. Everyone slows down and nothing happens. Sometimes, this can be okay, as the two sides can fight it out for dominance on quality -- and the better solution will win. However, with DVDs, the longer they wait, the more likely it is that both offerings will be obsolete by the time either has established itself. So, now, some folks at Warner Brothers have decided to apply for a patent on a disc that would play both types of DVD standard. However, this seems like a lot of wasted effort, to create a patent for something that shouldn't even be needed in the first place. If a standard had been set earlier, then this wouldn't have been needed, and now an extra cost will be added to the market, just because no standard could be agreed to.