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Re: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 18:06:18 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0907031606i44c53b5fia357c2101a5adfa7@mail.gmail.com>
To: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>
Cc: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com>, John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>, Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>, "www-font@w3.org" <www-font@w3.org>
On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 5:18 PM, Thomas Phinney<tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 2:41 PM, Aryeh Gregor<Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com> wrote:
>> so foundries will be forced to go
>> along with whatever common format is agreed upon no matter what, at
>> least to some extent.
>
> There you are completely incorrect.
>
> There's demand for $10 blu-ray players, too. That doesn't mean the
> makers of those devices will be forced to provide them at that price.
> There's demand for all sorts of things that it doesn't make economic
> sense for people to provide.
>
> To make that statement, you also assume that the font vendors'
> analysis of the situation and the costs/risks is the same as yours.
> It's *very* clear to me that many of the folks on this list who have
> never been part of that industry, nor closely affiliated, consistently
> don't understand how font vendors think about these issues.

Bad analogy.  We don't have $10 Bluray players because no one's
figured out how to make them that cheaply.  It's physically impossible
to sell them for that low and make money currently.

Fonts, on the other hand, cost $0 to reproduce.  Any price you charge
will recoup the price of a copy.  (The fixed costs of creating the
font are a different matter, but they have nothing to do with
reproduction of the font file.)

Thus, $10 Bluray players are economically impossible.  Fonts at any
price, on the other hand, are not.  It's the old argument that if font
vendors choose to *not* license their fonts for web use, they're
explicitly creating a supply void that can be usefully filled by
someone else.  Anytime someone big gives up a niche, there are ten
others who will gleefully fill it in now that there's no competition.

>> Otherwise they'll lose customers.
>
> Says you. If you're talking raw desktop fonts on web servers with no
> protections, the folks who make and sell retail fonts don't see that
> as any kind of opportunity, just a threat. They think they have more
> to lose than to gain there. They could be wrong, but that belief is
> pretty nearly universal in that community, and the arguments being
> made here have been heard and simply aren't swaying them.
>
> (I happen to mostly agree with them, but that's really not the point.)

I'm curious as to exactly what *would* really happen.  To use the old
comparison, the recording industry was dead-set against allowing their
music to be sold online, let alone in mp3 format, because they thought
they'd die from piracy.  Nowadays mp3 is the dominant format, and
every major store sells bare mp3s online.  That's just where the money
was - the companies that didn't sell their music online saw the money
they were missing, and the stores that refused to sell mp3s in favor
of encumbered formats saw their profits eaten up by the mp3-sellers.

That being said, I still think that EOT will end up being our best bet
on a consensus format, due to the compat we'll gain with existing IE
versions.

>> Nobody is
>> going to switch web browsers because of which font format they
>> support,
>
> Nobody? I'm not so sure about that. If this stuff was being widely
> used, and Chrome didn't support it, I'd stop using Chrome.

True, but (1) you're technically savvy, unlike the majority of people
using the web, and (2) this stuff will only get widely used if the
other major browsers have already started interop, in which case if
Chrome is still purposely not interop it's completely their fault.
^_^  The lack of a common, easy format right now is precisely what is
holding back wide adoption.

~TJ
Received on Friday, 3 July 2009 23:07:18 GMT

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