Hmmm . . . perhaps we should just scrap the whole free enterprise thing altogether, then, and let the enlightened federal government come up with just the stuff we need and should be allowed to have. Should the government have weighed in on betamax vs vhs? HDDVD vs Bluray? Those battles wasted a buttload of money as well, but isn't free enterprise, competition, value, etc., supposed to be what we do over here?
Don't get me wrong, I am NOT suggesting that the consumer driven system is wrong, I was just pointing out that standardization and industry standards do simplify things.
Interestingly the Betamax/VHS battle was on my mind. Along with the just completed HDDVD/Blueray. Or I could go with the myriad of battery packs that are inherently incompatible or the wall warts that can only be used for limited single design use. The point is very simple. YES what we "do" is free enterprise, competition, value, etc over here. Doesn't mean it is so Fn smart. Standards for devices would save a tremendous amount of money for everyone. Not necessarily government standards, IEEE standards are just fine but standards none the less.
At some point we need to start thinking smarter, not simply thinking. And the notion that "we always did it this way" is just thinking on autopilot.
Back in the early days of the industry that mean ol government had to step in to standardize the width of railroad tracks so interstate commerce could occur. Seems in the "free enterprise, competition, 'how we always do it", roll your own America", nearly every railroad had a different width track.
Wonder how much money, time and energy were wasted.