Cory Doctorow and Joe Betts-Lacroix on Adversarial Interoperability | Summary and Q&A

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Cory Doctorow and Joe Betts-Lacroix on Adversarial Interoperability

TL;DR

The concept of adversarial interoperability, where one plugs something into another thing made by a different company without permission, is crucial for startups to challenge dominant firms in the tech industry.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why is adversarial interoperability important for startups and innovators?

Adversarial interoperability allows startups to challenge dominant firms and establish themselves in the market by plugging their product into established systems without permission, making the dominant firm's customers their own.

Q: How has the legal landscape impacted adversarial interoperability?

Over the years, legal tools such as software patents, Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims, and Terms of Service violations have made it more difficult for startups to engage in adversarial interoperability, allowing dominant firms to maintain their dominance.

Q: What is the potential impact of adversarial interoperability on the tech industry?

Adversarial interoperability can lead to increased competition, innovation, and better products for consumers, as startups can challenge the dominance of established firms and offer alternative solutions.

Q: How can adversarial interoperability benefit consumers?

Adversarial interoperability allows for greater choice, as it enables startups to offer alternative solutions and competition in the market, leading to improved products and services for consumers.

Q: Are there any examples of successful adversarial interoperability in recent times?

While legal risks have increased, there have been examples of successful adversarial interoperability, such as the development of open-source software replicating proprietary protocols or companies finding innovative ways to plug their products and services into established systems without permission, gaining market share.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Adversarial interoperability is a type of interoperability where one plugs something into another thing without permission, even if the creator of the second thing doesn't like it.

  • Examples of adversarial interoperability include the development of Samba, an open-source software that replicated Microsoft's proprietary networking protocol, and Apple's creation of a suite called iWork to counter Microsoft's dominance in the office suite market.

  • The legal tools available to dominant companies to prevent adversarial interoperability have grown over the years, making it difficult for startups and innovators to challenge their dominance.

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