Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Anti-Interoperability

To judge from the way we’re treated by a wide range of service providers, we’re all cheats, money-launderers, pirates, terrorists and ticket touts, until proved otherwise.

We are no longer allowed to swap music or airline tickets, and we have to show endless paperwork before we can open a bank account, or visit certain public buildings.

It wasn’t always thus. Not so long ago, it was possible to lend records to your friends, or sell your unwanted ticket to a stranger. (Let me declare an interest here – that’s how I met my wife.) It was possible to deposit money in a bank account, and then take it out again, without ever having to produce your gas bill or your mother’s maiden name.

Technologies such as SOA are supposed to enhance interoperability. But some service providers are using technologies such as DRM to impede interoperability and extract rent.
Although DRM is the issue that gets everyone worked up, it’s just one example of a much broader phenomenon. Here are a couple more examples that have only just appeared in my newsreader:
What’s going on, and how long are service providers going to be able to get away with this attitude?

(This isn't just a rhetorical question. In the asymmetric design blog, we are going to be exploring some practical answers.)

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