Why nothing works with anything else

By Analysis by The Big Story podcast

In today’s The Big Story podcast, you know how your iPhone uses a different charging cable than your friend’s Android? Well, imagine you’ve just bought a $50,000 tractor that only works with parts from the company you bought it from. Or an expensive printer that only takes one kind of ink. Welcome to the fight for interoperability, a battle against the plans of companies to use digital technology to lock customers into their platforms, forever.

Anthony Rosborough is an assistant professor of law and computer science at Dalhousie University and a doctoral researcher in Law at the European University Institute. “What’s at stake, I guess, is a loss of innovation, a loss of consumer choice and, you know, increased costs and really a concentration of power in the hands of just a few companies,” said Rosborough. 

How did we let things get this far? Who’s fighting back and what regulations are they fighting for? One of the first victories in this war was Apple being forced to move to a universal charger on its new iPhone. Now what’s next?

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify. You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

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