Standards – respect for customer
From my point of view, following standards in whatever you’re producing as a company is a form of respect for the customer.
There is no good reason, except the economical one, for not to. And economically speaking this can have multiple causes. One could be that the product was developed before the standard and adhering to the standard will be an extra cost. This is in some way understandable. Much less understandable is when making the product after the standard and intentionally not adopting it. The economical reason behind is clear: tying up the customer to the product and automatically to the company.
In my personal opinion, the customer should be educated in this way that he/she should ask the companies to follow the standards and to penalize the ones that are not doing it.
I agree that in some cases the standards are outdated. A very notable case is J2ME. Even tough a lot of mobiles are implementing it, the standard is so outdated, so general, that if you want to develop an application with the latest trends you will end up developing it in five different platforms.
Let’s take another simpler example: phone chargers. There the intention of making you as a customer dependent of the company is even more obvious. For example, Nokia, nany years back had only one type of charger for all their phones. Which was great, you could share the charger with any of your friends and colleagues with a Nokia phone. Lately they switched to a lighter version of that charger, implementing it also on all the phones.
But nowadays, when almost all their phones have a mini-USB connector, why still keeping a proprietary charging connector? Moreover, the specs for the charger are the same as the one for the power from USB. So dropping that charger connector will even save money when producing the phone. And also it will save you money on accessories, which in fact is the problem :).
But less acceptable is when they use X different USB connectors. I understand the necessity of two sizes of USB connectors. But why so many shapes for the same size of the connector?
There are a lot of organizations and many efforts in standardization, but you will be, as a customer, the ultimate reason for companies in adhering to standards.