Format war

A format war describes competition between mutually incompatible proprietary formats that compete for the same market, typically for data storage devices and recording formats for electronic media. It is often characterized by political and financial influence on content publishers by the developers of the technologies. Developing companies may be characterized as engaging in a format war if they actively oppose or avoid interoperable open industry technical standards in favor of their own.

A format war emergence can be explained because each vendor is trying to exploit cross-side network effects in a two-sided market. There is also a social force to stop a format war: when one of them wins as de facto standard, it solves a coordination problem[1] for the format users.

19th century




In addition, there were several more minor "format wars" between the various brands using various speeds ranging from 72 to 96 rpm, as well as needle or stylus radii varying from 0.0018 to 0.004 inches (0.046 to 0.102 mm)  the current 0.003-inch (0.076 mm) radius needle or stylus is a compromise as no company actually used this size though 0.0028 inches (0.071 mm) and 0.0032 inches (0.081 mm) were the commonest sizes (from Columbia and HMV/Victor respectively).[4]










See also


  1. Edna Ullmann-Margalit: The Emergence of Norms, Oxford Un. Press, 1977. (or Clarendon Press 1978)
  2. Quentin R. Skrabec, The 100 Most Significant Events in American Business: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO - 2012, page 86
  3. AC Power History:
  4. Guide to playing 78s
  5. "Paramount jumps on DVD wagon; Fox, DreamWorks still out".
  6. Bob Johnson (January 19, 2014). "The Ongoing Memory Card Battle".
  7. Shankland (November 27, 2013). "SD Card: Too bad this format won the flash-card wars".
  8. "E-commerce and Video Distribution:DVD and Blu-ray".
  9. "Warner backs Sony Blu-ray format". BBC News. 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2010-05-02.

External links

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