De facto Standard

This is a standard which has come into use because one company or technology dominates the industry. Other companies in the sector follow this standard when producing their products.

For example 'VHS' became a de facto standard for viewing video instead of 'Betamax'. And now VHS is obsolete and BluRay is to the fore.

A de facto standard lacks formal approval and is not recognised by an official standards organisation. An official standard is called a 'de jure standard'.

Companies are in competition and are constantly vying with each other to make the public accept their technology as the 'de-facto' standard, because whichever company wins will probably make a fortune by licensing their technology - meaning other companies have to pay to use the technology or format.


In 1980, IBM developed a personal computer that was designed specifically to encourage other vendors to make additional hardware such as expansion cards for their product - the IBM PC.

IBM then told other manufacturers how to make their equipment compatible with the IBM PC.

IBM effectively created the 'de-facto' standard for the personal computer industry.

Other de-facto standards

  • Tagging MP3 files using the ID3 format to identify title, artist, album, track number
  • QWERTY keyboard - yes there are other keyboard types out there.
  • Adobe Postscript language for laser printers
  • Microsoft Word format for documents
  • Adobe Photoshop PSD format for editable images
  • Adobe PDF format for documents

Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: De facto standard


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