Specifications or styles that are widely accepted by users and adopted by several vendors. Standards are critical to the compatibility of hardware, software, and everything in between. Industry standards enable the essential elements of a computer and related infrastructure to work together. Standards provide specifications to hardware manufacturers and software developers that allow them to create products that will work together. Deviation from standards could result in the following problems:

• A plug on a keyboard does not fit into the related outlet on a computer.

• A piece of software does not work with a particular operating system.

• An Internet browser cannot read a certain page on the Web because the page is not formatted according the browser requirements.

• Proprietary software does not work on the Internet.

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