You are for some reason assuming that keeping an open system, a system where you let others develop based on pre-defined standards, will always lead to bankruptcy. This has never been proven by anyone, on the contrary more than one party has become very big because of widespread usage that way.
The way you put it, seems to be; close your system, make everything proprietary or go bust.
A fairly short-sighted vision.
There is a reason the EU is fairly anxious for developments like this. It is not only protection for a vendor but acts like this eventually lead to lesser incentive to develop and innovation besides the much more often heard hindering of competition.
On the contrary, I'm saying that not all markets function or develop in the same way. Financial and market forces, along with technology developments, will dictate what allows a company (or entire market segments
) to survive or remain profitable. There is not a single path that companies and products must follow, but multiple paths.
The way that the medium-format camera market has developed, over the last several years, came close to forcing all
of the camera makers out of business. Three managed to hang on despite the very severe financial loses they suffered. The inability for any
company to make a profit selling generic medium-format cameras is clear, undeniable and self evident. This is why they are all
now tied to support from the profits of digital backs
. This is not
the result of any one company's actions, but the consequence of changes that effected the entire medium-format market during the transition from film to digital.
How did the medium-format market get to this point? Why did the medium-format camera business become unprofitable and unsustainable? Every market has a balance point that requires a certain volume to break even and be sustainable. That volume does not exist, and has not existed for some years, in the medium-format camera market. During the transition from film to digital, MF camera makers continued with their traditional business model of making cameras and lenses, absent any digital capture device. During this transition, digital back makers were like hitchhikers–catching a free ride on whatever camera vehicle was available, without paying for the gas, the vehicle cost, tires, maintenance, etc.. They rode along for free until the vehicle ran out of gas and crashed on the side of the road–then hopped on board remaining available camera body vehicles until they ran out of money and fuel to continue. The financial condition, of the few vehicles left to ride on, made this no longer a sustainable plan for anyone
In order to survive, refuel, change the tires and maintain the engine–Hasselblad merged with Imacon. What had been a freeloading passenger, started to pay for the cost of the vehicle and took the driver's seat. They provided a map that put the combined company on the right road–one that was profitable. The profits were invested in upgrading the ride (DAC automatic lens corrections, GPS, a better display, better viewfinder, a complete software overhaul, pattern detection moire removal, integrated camera/back controls, etc,). They decided to withdraw from the segment of the market that almost caused their demise, that was costing more money than it brought in, that diverted limited financial and production resources away from developing integrated technology products to compete with rapidly increasing capabilities from the integrated systems that Nikon and Canon are developing–and chose a no-more-hitchhikers path.
Jenoptik (Sinar) and Leaf decided, for the present and near term, to share a taxi. In the future, one of them could make an offer to buy the entire taxi business. Time will tell.
Phase One (whose CEO predicted in 2005 that Hasselblad and Contax would continue to be available to give them free rides into the future, while other camera platforms perhaps faded away [a href=\"http://www.luminous-landscape.com/video_journal/vj13-phase-ceo.shtml]See Link[/url]) protested these logical changes
in the market on moral and philosophical grounds (as have a portion of the consumers of these products) as if they were unaware of the financial issues involved and held on to their profits and purse strings as long as possible. Finally,realizing the free rides were over, they decided to invest some of their profits in the last vehicle available, Mamiya, to help drag them out of the financial ditch in which they have been stuck. How that will develop in the long term also remains to be seen.
People are free to tear their hair, wring their hands and scream as loudly as they like about "open", "closed", integration, common standards, proprietary functionality and more. But freedom to make choices and decisions in a market is not always limited to consumers only and denied to manufacturers that need to have free choice in deciding what products best insure their ability to survive, advance technologically and profit in the years ahead. People can take all of the rigid moral and philosophical positions they like, but it will not change the financial or market realities that exist.
The reality is that manufacturers are looking for return on investment and technological advantages in the market that aid their competitive position and long term survival. Whether that is achieved by designing products that are proprietary and integrated or by making component parts based on a common standard is based on financial, technological and market considerations–not moral and philosophical grounds.
I think that the "short-sighted vision" is to deny consumers, manufacturers and the market place the freedom to choose whether they want to invest in proprietary integrated solutions or mix-and-match component solutions. Both approaches will have merits, advantages and disadvantages. Why a manufacturer should be demonized for choosing the single-source integrated product path and offering consumers that
as an alternative choice to mix-and-match solutions from multiple sources defies logic to me. How does denying consumers integrated solutions or coercing manufacturers to produce products they consider no longer sustainable provide a benefit to anyone?