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Executive Interviews: Justin Rattner, The Link Between Standards and InnovationExecutive Interviews: Justin Rattner, The Link Between Standards and Innovation"Standards play a key role in the virtuous cycle of innovation. They allow technology investment to concentrate in a much smaller area of innovation. That enables volume to build quickly, and for profits to be funneled into rapid reductions in cost and further advancements in the technology, and the cycle repeats." —Justin RattnerWhy should consumers care whether or not a product is standardized? Standards are a bit of an arcane topic, from a consumer perspective; people don't walk into a store and demand a particular standard. But they appreciate the quality of the experience that's associated with standards and interoperability, and they recognize the problems that are caused when products don't work together because they're not standards-based. We've all had the experience of buying a cable and connector and not being able to connect the two—even those of us who are reasonably tech-savvy. That's an unsatisfactory user experience.Maybe five or ten years ago consumers were willing to deal with that kind of problem; they might call a friend or ask a neighbor for help. Today they would likely just put the product back in the box and return it to the store. That's why standards are so important: They create a positive user experience. They help to satisfy consumers' expectations that technology products will work together easily."Global standards create a positive user experience. They help to satisfy consumers' expectations that technology products will work together easily." —Justin RattnerThose expectations are forcing companies to move away from proprietary technology, which used to be common in our industry. For many years, it seemed like every systems manufacturer had its own technology and interfaces, and each manufacturer believed that its product was a value add, that it was differentiated from competitors' products by virtue of a unique and powerful interface. But when you talked to IT managers and CIOs, the reality was just the opposite: they saw this differentiation as having no value—in fact, as actually removing value. In the PC business we call this useless differentiation, and I think consumers are becoming less tolerant of it. They don't want to feel that they're beholden to one manufacturer or another. I think that's why we have been successful of late, bringing to market technologies like Intel® Centrino® processor technology, which are driving a much higher degree of standardization and driving out a lot of useless differentiation.Read the full Justin Rattner Executive Interview.