Interoperability in Today’s Tech Market

“The biggest Internet companies need more legal limits on their use and handling of personal data,” says Cory Doctorow in a recent article talking about the current tech market concentration.

Doctorow notes that tech has experienced waves of concentration before. He cites the example of AT&T and the Bell System, saying previously companies were often “felled by interoperability, which allows new market entrants to seize the ‘network effect’ advantages of incumbents” for their own use.

“Everyone in the tech world claims to love interoperability—the technical ability to plug one product or service into another product or service.” But, depending on its meaning, it “can do a lot, a little, or nothing at all to protect users, innovation and fairness,” he says. 

He provides a taxonomy of interoperability and examines the concept of competitive compatibility. 

Read more at Communications of the ACM.