INTRODUCTION IN OCCASIONAL PROGRESS: There always seem to be more interesting things to do than write introductions.

Microsoft HTML

In the to-and-fro of fussing about standards, usually with Microsoft cast as being at best an unwilling player, there is something that only rarely gets stated. There’s a reason that companies such as Microsoft go their own way. They don’t want to be held back, if only as they perceive it, by waiting for a standard to develop and be formalised. If a standard succeeds, both technically and at gaining widespread acceptance, then compliance can be attended to later in any number of ways. Meanwhile, they get on with designing their software to fit what they see as the market for their product, including to consider the strategic effects on their competitors and to ignore (or value) the extent to which programmers who develop software for interaction with the product become captives to the proprietary design rather than to any standard. All this is their right.

What they in turn leave unstated is that there is a cost. That process of formalisation ...