September 23, 2008 00:01 ET
IBM Announces New I.T. Standards Policy
To Encourage Improved Tech Standards Quality and Transparency, and Promote Equal Participation of Growth Markets in Globally Integrated Economy
ARMONK, NY--(Marketwire - September 23, 2008) - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that, effective
immediately, it is instituting a new corporate policy that formalizes the
company's behavior when helping to create open technical standards. Such
standards enable electronic devices and software programs to interoperate
with one another.
In the globally integrated economy, open technical standards are integral
to enabling the delivery of everything from disaster relief services and
health care, to business services and consumer entertainment. They enable
governments to create economic development platforms and deliver services
to their citizens.
The tenets of IBM's new policy are to:
- Begin or end participation in standards bodies based on the quality and
openness of their processes, membership rules, and intellectual property
- Encourage emerging and developed economies to both adopt open global
standards and to participate in the creation of those standards.
- Advance governance rules within standards bodies that ensure technology
decisions, votes, and dispute resolutions are made fairly by independent
participants, protected from undue influence.
- Collaborate with standards bodies and developer communities to ensure
that open software interoperability standards are freely available and
- Help drive the creation of clear, simple and consistent intellectual
property policies for standards organizations, thereby enabling standards
developers and implementers to make informed technical and business
IBM encouraged members of standards communities to adopt similar
principles, which are more stringent than required by existing laws or
policies. IBM's new standards policy promotes simplified and consistent
intellectual property practices, and emphasizes that all stakeholders,
including the open source community and those in growth markets, should
have equal footing as they participate in the standards process.
IBM described steps to put these principles into action. For example, the
- Review and take necessary actions concerning its membership in
- In the regions and countries where we do business, encourage local
participation in the creation and use of standards that solve the
problems and meet the requirements of all affected stakeholders around
the world. We will advocate governance policies in standards bodies
that encourage diverse participation.
- Work for process reform in standards organizations so that proxies
or surrogates cannot be used in standards creation and approval.
- Collaborate with standards organizations and stakeholders to
streamline and consolidate intellectual property licenses and policies,
with a focus on enabling software applications to become more easily
interoperable by the use of open standards.
IBM's principles were inspired by the results of an online conversation
facilitated by IBM during the summer of 2008, in which 70 independent,
forward-thinking experts across the globe -- from academia,
standards-setting, law, government, and public policy -- debated the
question of whether standard setting bodies have kept pace with today's
commercial, social, legal and political realities. Actionable suggestions
to modernize their processes were offered during the six-week discussion
(http://www.research.ibm.com//files/standards_wikis.shtml), with an eye
toward increasing standards transparency, fairness, and quality.
An invitation-only summit is planned for November, under Yale University's
auspices, that will flesh out recommendations from the online discussion
and begin steps toward improving the standards-setting environment.
"Common, open and consensus-based technology standards from reputable
standards bodies help ensure that each of us can easily purchase and
interchangeably use computing technology from multiple vendors," said Bob
Sutor, IBM vice president of open source and standards. "The ways in which
they are created and adopted provide reasonable assurances that disparate
products will work with one another, and withstand the test of time."
For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com