Each manufacturer doesnít have to if they donít want to make their software readable by other brands.
To give a recent example, take the new Roland G70. There have been favorable comments about the build and key feel on the G70 but there have been less than favorable and sometimes contradictory comments on the sounds and styles. Now what if Roland (in this example but could be applicable to any other manufacturer), were to have the G70 just having the 76 key keyboard, with the good build and feel, and a general OS architecture and were to sell that at a reasonable price. Then if the user wants styles of Roland and other arranger features that can only be used on the G70, then the user can buy separately. I bring this up because I can remember when there is a discussion on a new keyboard like the G70, you always get comments likeÖ this keyboard does not have XYZ and on the other hand you hear that Ö this keyboard should not have XYZ because I donít need it on an arranger and XYZ carries up the price of the keyboard.
So if you have good key feel and a good build (which is or should be the rudimentary and main feature on a musical keyboard instrument), and allow the user to choose what bells and whistles the user wants and needs on the keyboard then I think users can get more value for their money.
When you think about it, all it is is separating the hardware from the soft ware. So instead of having a Tyros with every conceivable feature on it, costing over $3500 have a real solid hardware and let the user choose the software and features. The same can be said for the flagship arrangers for other brand manufacturers like Korg, Roland Ketron, Gem and who ever else.
Obviously, there will be brand loyalty, but I think this could open up users to get more than one brand. Right now, users that want a flagship arranger have to think that if they are going to get an arranger, because of the high price, they have to think about getting it from only one manufacturer. But with the concept of separating the hardware from software, the user may feel that they may want a second brand. Different brands would specialize in certain things. Also, if the manufacturers decide that it would be more profitable to make their software readable by brands of competitors, then so much the better for the user.
The exact same thing has been and still is going on with hardware computer manufacturers.