They say that the beauty of democracy is that everybody has freedom of choice. If so, nowhere is democracy practiced more fully than in the computer industry. You can buy from scores of vendors whose products implement the same popular technologies and standards, and safely assume that your products will workmost of the time, at least. Moreover, with the explosion in global electronic commerce, you can purchase software from anywhere on Earth via the Internet, and download it directly from its authors. No longer are your choices limited to products sold by dealers and suppliers in your vicinityyou have direct access to the developers.
But freedom can be abused, and even in the best case, it creates enormous challenges for IT professionals, who are called upon to get multi-vendor products to work together with mission-critical reliability.