Monday, July 19, 2010

Creeping Socialism Update

Small automobile repair shops in Massachusetts have banded together to have the Bay State legislature create a bill that would force large automobile makers to provide all the repair diagnostic tools and software they provide their own dealers.  This so-called "right to repair" law represents another lurch to the left, and it is unsurprising that it comes from the People's Democratic Republic of Massachusetts.

The diagnostics and repair tools furnished to dealer repair shops are proprietary and as such, should be protected by the law.  Engineers and designers put their intellectual capital to work on those systems--funded by the automobile manufacturers seeking competitive advantages.  This shouldn't surprise anyone--this is capitalism. 

Forcing the large auto manufacturers to "share" their proprietary information with Mom and Pop's garage may play well in the utopia that is the Modern Planned State--but in the real world, it is yet another instance of "spreading the wealth around" by handing to these garages advantages they invested nothing in. 


Mudge said...

You raise a good point. I've done a bit of research on "open" and "closed" business models. The one you are describing is a closed business model. In other words, protecting your business share by defensive measures such as tightly-protected, proprietary designs and, especially, interfaces such that no one else can compete with you for making improvements, additions or, in this case, repairs to your product. And I absolutely agree. It should not be the domain of government to pry from the citizen (even if it is a particularly wealthy citizen or group of citizens), his or her intellectual property. If the people of Massachusetts find this practice sufficiently egregious as to support passage of the proposed law, then there is a far more American and just way to make that happen. Stop buying the cars of companies who engage in closed business models such as the one in question. Instead, take your business to a company who has selected an open business model. One who says, "Look, I'm pretty good, but if I open my interfaces and allow other developers to connect their innovations to improve my product, more people will want my product." Think Apple iPhone. But you can't rest on your laurels in an open business model. It doesn't take industry too long to copy your latest good idea so you better have your next 5 good ideas planned, at least three in some stage of prototype, one in final testing and one in full production/packaging.
When people in Mass get tired of long lines at dealers, high repair prices at dealers and the continual frustration of being turned away at independent garages, they'll start buying elsewhere. That is, IF the Mass legislature remembers they are in the United States of America.

Thorn said...

Asking because I truly don't know. Are there any auto mfgs that aren't moving toward proprietary designs, etc?
I would offer that bicycles are pretty open architecture-d....

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