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Abstract

Existing literature on IT standards focuses on the role of technical factors such as network effects and competitive behavior on the creation of standards. However, the role of users and vendors in initiating the standards definition and ratification process is less well understood. Given the advantages associated with standards, all users and vendors of IT products would be expected to be glad to participate in the standards definition and ratification process. However, if that were the case, many fewer proprietary technologies would compete. This paper explains qualitatively why users, vendors, and government bodies choose (or don't choose) to participate in the standards definition and ratification process. A better understanding of their motivations for participating or not in the process should help to attract more participants to the process. The paper concludes by analyzing strategies to recover the cost of standards definition and ratification process, and their impact on the standards adoption rate.

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