A multimedia colleague posed the quandary: “why are there 13 different lossless formats out there?” My best answer: Because there were at least 13 organizations or individuals that wanted their own flavor. We will probably discover that the underlying algorithms for all 13 are nearly indistingishable, just with slightly tweaked parameters. Indeed, the individual who reverse engineered Apple’s ALAC figured out portions by first understanding similar portions of FLAC.
I once reverse engineered an audio decoder from binary code only to find that is was a stock IMA ADPCM decoder. I didn’t see how it offered any advantage whatsoever over another available, free solution. I later had the opportunity to talk to someone involved with this variant’s creation. I asked why they chose to create their own format since it brought nothing new to the table; did they just want have their own format for the sake of it?
The response: “Doesn’t everybody?”