Governments Mandate Standards
Open Malaysia Blog has an article about China and South Korea mandating standards for things like mobile telephone chargers. If you buy two different phones, they are likely to have two different chargers, which keeps prices for replacement chargers high. In this case, by mandating a standardized charging system, the manufacturers will actually reduce their own costs and the costs to the consumer, while increasing the utility (benefit) to the consumer.
So once again, I ask, why do we have to have proprietary, yet so-called "open", xml-based file formats for office documents? Isn’t the international vendor-neutral standard format enough? Once again, let us advocate within our employers, suppliers, customers, and the local governments that regulate our lives, asking that they each consider archival requirements and the ability to openly access files in ODF formats and make the right choice.
In this country, we have just a very few kinds of electrical outlets, which means that we do not have to pay someone to re-wire our house every time we buy something that uses electricity. In this case, the standardization helps everyone—manufacturers, power distribution companies, consumers, retailers—with the possible exception of electricians. In actuality, the standardization causes us to buy more electricity-using equipment, so that electricians are able to work at continually expanding the amount of power that can be delivered to our homes and the amount of power that our homes can handle.