The OSI reference model (which actually predates the OSI protocol work, dating to 1977) was a major advance in the teaching of network concepts. It promoted the idea of a common model of protocol layers, defining interoperability between network devices and software.
Beyond their objections to the Byzantine protocol suite itself, OSI opponents generally contended that the very OSI standardization process represented little more than institutional unwillingness on the part of the ISO and ITU-T to admit that vendor-neutral standards might exist that had not been developed and ratified by their own particular processes (an example of the "Not Invented Here" phenomenon). Much bad blood arose between these standards organizations and the IETF, the Internet standards body, as a result of this dispute. The most vitriolic opponents of the OSI suite at times made the further claim that, far from being a "vendor neutral" standard, OSI represented an attempt by minor, or diminishing, players in the networking and computer industries to recover by government fiat market share that they were rapidly losing to the proponents of TCP/IP through fair competition.
The OSI approach was eventually eclipsed by the Internet's TCP/IP protocol suite. TCP/IP's pragmatic approach to computer networking and two independent implementations of simplified protocols made it a practical standard. For example, the definition for OSI's X.400 e-mail standards took up several large books, while the Internet e-mail (SMTP) definition took only a few dozen pages in RFC 821. It should be noted, however, that over time there have been numerous RFCs which extended the original SMTP definition, so that its complete documentation finally took up several large books as well. Furthermore, the X.400 standard contained so many optional format choices that early implementations in France and Germany were unable to parse each other's messages.
Many of the protocols and specifications in the OSI stack are long-gone or have been superseded, such as token-bus media, CLNP packet delivery, FTAM file transfer, and X.400 e-mail. Some still survive, often in significantly simplified forms. The X.500 directory structure still remains with significant usage, mainly because the original unwieldy protocol has been stripped away and effectively replaced with LDAP. IS-IS also continues as a network routing protocol used by larger telecommunications companies, having been adapted for use with the Internet Protocol. Many legacy SONET systems still use TARP (TID Address Resolution Protocol - utilizes CLNP and IS-IS) to translate Target Identifier of a SONET node. Often protocols and specifications in the OSI stack remain in use in legacy systems, unless or until such legacy systems are eventually upgraded, replaced or decommissioned.
The collapse of the OSI project in 1996 severely damaged the reputation and legitimacy of the organizations involved, especially ISO. The worst part was that OSI's backers took too long to recognize and accommodate the dominance of the TCP/IP protocol suite. The financial damage done to Japan and Europe (where Internet deployment was delayed by years) is difficult to estimate.