The IT industry is strikingly similar to the health care industry and faces similar risks from government regulation, Alan Weinberger of the ASCII Group writes in an op-ed for the San Jose Mercury News.
IT service professionals look for the best solution to enable IT to meet needs in businesses, schools and so on. Similarly, we want our doctors to have the freedom to present treatment options based on what their experience and expertise say will be most effective. No one wants to find out that his doctor is a shill for a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and laws and professional oversight aim to maintain physicians' independence.
Unfortunately, a bureaucracy of government and insurance has in many ways enveloped health care and impinged on physicians' decision-making. In some instances, physicians cannot prescribe their first-choice medication because it is not on a list of authorized treatments mandated by public or private bureaucracies. Public policy should not place a similar burden on the IT sector and its public and private customers.
On behalf of taxpayers, governments should be responsible consumers, seeking IT solutions that provide quality and value. This responsibility is best fulfilled with the assistance of independent solutions providers, who compete against one another, stay current with developments in technology and look to provide a range of choices. For a rapidly evolving industry like IT, where service and human expertise are crucial, it makes no sense for government to play favorites and lock in specific products and lock out, perhaps, the best solutions.
Could he perhaps be talking about Massachusetts' locking in of ODF and locking out of Microsoft's proprietary formats? Or what is he talking about?