Just recently, my mom got a virus from Firefox. I thought, "That's odd, Firefox is pretty good about that". It turns out she was using Firefox 2.0. I was about to tell her to download the latest Firefox, but then I realized... a year from now, it's not going to get updated AGAIN. So... I told her to download Chrome.
I think the problem with the advancement of standards isn't how long it takes to develop standards, or developers adopting standards. The problem is that 30% of the users are using a browser that wont update it's self, and if it isn't for some sort of intervention, they wont. Ever. Thankfully, thanks to OS upgrades, people buying new computers, and tech savvy relatives around the world, a new generation of browser finally becomes the new standard after 5 years. This is a ridiculous amount of time to wait before you can even start suggesting to your clients to use new technology. How does all this waiting to use new technology put any pressure on the standardization process to add new features?
With technology as cool as HTML5 coming out, it is a shame to hear around my office, "Eh, HTML5... we MIGHT see it used in 5 years". Non-updated browsers hurts the internet industry. And it shouldn't take the next "big thing" on the internet to start pushing forward a few new technologies. In a world where all browsers update in the background, everyone should be working hard to update their site just to remain competitive. Because in 2 weeks after the release of the new standard, 80% of the internet will using it.
Adobe says about Apple and Microsoft that, "...they would like you to buy into their implementation of how the seamless integration with the Web goes. What we're saying is it really shouldn't matter. That cloud ought to be accessible by anybody's computer and through any sort of information sitting out on the Web."
The problem with Adobe here is that they're invading the standardized Web and calling themselves the "Web". Basically, technology lag caused by slow adoption rates of standards is causing the "plugin" market to grow too large, and Flash is a result of that. The idea to counteract this is to develop a standards based ecosystem that fills the market demand for new technologies, so that the market doesn't depend on plug-ins for growth. The only way I see for us to decrease the technology lag is to increase adoption rates of standards, and apply pressure to the standardization process to explore new technologies. I think background updates would be one good way to get things moving in this direction.