Given the structure of IP video systems some sort of standardization of the basic protocols was inevitable. For Axis, it was probably best to be an active part of that process than to ignore it or try to block it.
They key point that needs to be remembered is that PSIA came first.
Axis didn't wake up one day and say "Hey standards are great, let's do this."
PSIA started the standards effort. ONVIF was clearly a response / counter to PSIA. Indeed, in 2008, PSIA clearly had a big head start, see: Will ONVIF or PSIA win the IP Camera Standards Battle? but by 2010, it became clear that ONVIF had overcome that and won.
So they might regret standards ever happened but it was probably better that they controlled it rather than allowing a rival group to dictate standards.
One thing to remember in this conversation is the starting point and AXIS position in 2008...they were only (approx.) 5th or 6th largest camera supplier at the time so the perspective changes just a bit.
They did have something to gain publicitywise in starting the new standards organization. If you ask those that dealt with Axis over the last 7 years you will find that they used the fact that they were one of the founders of ONVIF to market themselves quite often. This was useful to them at times and mentioned in nearly every PPT they gave. So I believe it was very much a marketing ploy/tool for them to be a founder of this new standards organization.
I was at one of the three founding members and was told AXIS did not want to start ONVIF and was pressured into it by the other two founding members.
Interestingly Axis had a different take other than being forced but maybe they told all employees that it was their idea.
Chesapeake & Midlantic | 04/19/15 11:52am
Standards was coming to the industry anyway, because standardization is a hallmark of a maturing technology.
Imagine a world where Axis didn't join ONVIF or some other standard. They'd be increasingly marginalized as integrators began flocking to the stuff that worked with the other stuff. They'd become less and less popular, and start losing up money. One of the big VMS manufacturers would eventually make the decision to stop supporting Axis products, which would be big news for about fifteen minutes, until all the other VMS manufacturers would follow suit (probably after breathing a sigh of relief behind closed doors that they didn't have to be first). The snowball would only get bigger and gain more momentum as time went on. Axis becomes less and less relvant, and by the time they try to put themselves up for sale, no one is interested in buying. Axis closes in 2020, it's customers and talent long having since fled for greener pastures. It doesn't matter how big you are, proprietary is always a non starter, as the ghost of Dedicated Micros could tell you.
VAPIX would have done for Axis what MXPEG did for Mobotix- isolated them until they were irrelevant.
When these efforts started Axis had a significant piece of the camera sales pie. I always argued what was in it for them was to increase the size of the entire pie. Standards soften barriers to all camera/vms sales in general. With a bigger pie, Axis continues to compete on price/performance/brand to grow their slice. Being in the driver's seat of the standard is a bonus.
Was the strategy successful? I think yes and no.