EWeek pushes for "pre-n" products to help fight ultrawideband's potential to steal market share from 802.11: Carol Ellison makes some valid points here (and cites a previous piece from Glenn) but I think she underestimates the confusion in the market and the potential problems that stem from calling products "pre-" anything. The Wi-Fi Alliance doesn't expect 802.11n to be ratified for another two years. That means that the chances are good that a "pre-n" product that gets released now won't be compatible with certified 802.11n products that hit the market in a few years. The danger is that people buy "pre-n" products thinking they'll be compatible and then they aren't. If vendors are crystal clear that their products may not interoperate, then I agree that it can be worth it for vendors to release proprietary products because sometimes proprietary technologies drive the market. But the only way that vendors can be crystal clear about that is if they don't make any reference to 802.11n.
The Wi-Fi Alliance has been burned on this before, thus the recent policy announcement that strongly discourages using the term "IEEE 802.11n" along with any certified product. The policy seems to be twofold. The alliance may be looking to avoid a situation like the one where Broadcom said that a proprietary extension in Atheros chips caused service degradation in Broadcom-based products. As part of its policy announcement, the alliance said it would revoke certification of any certified product with extensions that interfere with other certified product. At the same time, the alliance's director is quoted as pointing out that pre-standard products present risks for users so the alliance won't certify 802.11n products until the standard is complete. An analyst in the press release notes that buyers of "pre-802.11g" products had problems when their products didn't end up meeting the standard.