Didn't read the rest as that was enough. I thought the drawbacks with standardizing on single supplier were clear, but apparently not.
Then please do. I addressed what you wrote here, although from a different angle.
this can be a philosophical discussion, although I rather it wouldn't be. How many standards works the way you described? we use here the word standard kind of loosely. The whole point being, ensuring quality to customers who knows nothing about printers, inks, media, etc - be that an artist or end client purchasing an artwork. you, me and most if not all people here - we don't need any standard, we can judge quality by ourselves. we might not want longevity. we might trade gamut for other factors. this is our choice.
How many imaginary world like you described exist? and how many are like I described (price fixing etc)? I know of much more of that kind then yours, in many other areas in our life, beyond this forum. If standardization demands your option or mine - you might say we don't need it at all.
but don't we? like I said - it depends who "we" are. I've grown tired of explaining to customers, after they have been %^&%@*& by other printshops, that I'm better. much better. EVERYBODY says they are the best. so what? why would someone believe me?
well, I hope they'll believe me because represent this standard that demands a certain workflow, that outputs highest quality. I hope they will be more around that will do that. I hope it will regain the trust and value of clients toward prints, limited edition prints, or any other digital manufacturing that insures quality. mass manufacturing, cheap labor and cheap materials, and most importantly - lack of moral, created this situation of suspicion and avoidance of anything regarded "digital" or "print". if it's digital, then tomorrow you will see it all around the world printed gazillion times. right? (holy cow, the spell checker actually fixed my gazillion. I didn't know it's a real word).
wrong. or at least, I'm trying to make it wrong. I want an alternative, trusted worldwide, of quality, limited edition prints. be that Epson or any other devil that will market it - I don't mind. I think in this, real world, there is a place for your freedom of choice, with my benefits of standardization, without the bleak future you described. you can continue creating your art via any method you like, and I will give people the alternative of "safe" route to quality.
This of course can mean you get a really crappy print with great longevity
THIS is a tagline
(dont forget the COA)