Monday, 19 October 2009

Relevant link of today: Speech of Commissioner Kroes on competition policy and the role of standards and interoperability

Last week Commissioner Kroes gave a speech at the Harvard Club of Belgium. The Commissioner addressed the full range of issues regarding competition policy and the benefits of standards and interoperability as well as issues regarding improvement of IPR handling in Standards Developing Organisations with mechanisms like patent disclosure etc. I would like to highlight the following three passages from Commissioner Kroes' speech here:

Following her speech on open standards from 2008, Commissioner Kroes stressed:
In essence, standards are good because they create the level playing field on which all can compete. More than that, good standard-setting helps consumers, boosts competitiveness and can spur market growth. Remember, for example, the wide-spread benefits of some of the most common standards in everyday use I am thinking of the GSM standard for mobile phone, Internet protocols, the magnetic stripe on various ID and banking cards, MPEG for videos and podcasts.
Commissioner Kroes continued emphasizing the benefits of open and transparent standardisation for competitiveness and innovation:
If standardisation processes are open and transparent, then standards can bring significant benefits to consumers by ensuring compatibility between products, which will generate competition on price and innovation.

And on interoperability the Commissioner pointed out:
Standards may facilitate economies of scale, but it is with interoperability that they really add value to the economy. Standards are the foundation of interoperability – they create the level playing field needed for interoperability, where all can compete. When good standard-setting allows everyone to interoperate, it is also more likely that consumers will get the sort of high-quality and innovative products that work in a wide range of situations.
To some extend the speech reads like the resumée of Commissioner Kroes' term of office of the last 5 years. It is worth reading the full speech on the Commissions website or download from there in pdf format. (All quotes above from the Commission website)

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