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standard When an existing standard becomes almost impossible
to supersede because of the cost or logistical difficulties
involved in convincing all its users to switch something
different and, typically, incompatible.
The common implication is that the existing standard is
notably inferior to other comparable standards developed
before or since.
Things which have been accused of benefiting from lock-in in
the absence of being truly worthwhile include: the QWERTY
keyboard; any well-known operating system or programming
language you don't like (e.g., see "Unix conspiracy"); every
product ever made by Microsoft Corporation; and most
currently deployed formats for transmitting or storing data of
any kind (especially the Internet Protocol, 7-bit (or even
8-bit) character sets, analog video or audio broadcast
formats and nearly any file format).
Because of network effects outside of just computer
networks, Real World examples of lock-in include the current
spelling conventions for writing English (or French, Japanese,
Hebrew, Arabic, etc.); the design of American money; the
imperial (feet, inches, ounces, etc.) system of measurement;
and the various and anachronistic aspects of the internal
organisation of any government (e.g., the American Electoral