another Web Services pile-on

by Simon St. Laurent

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Microsoft, IBM, and BEA seem to have decided that the W3C's new Web Services Activity isn't enough for them, and have set up the Web Services Interoperability Organization, yet another corporate gathering.

Apparently following the model of UDDI, where an endless list of members covers for the lack of actual openness in the decision-making process, WSIO has signed up quite a roster. It isn't clear what participation costs, as annual fees aren't disclosed on the site, nor it is it clear where decision-making power actually rests.

Sun may soon join the pile-on.

A FAQ is available, and may help illuminate what exactly WSIO does and how it differs from existing organizations in the same space. The most substantial comment the FAQ makes on the subject is that:

"While there are many organizations currently engaged developing specifications around the area of Web Services, customers are looking for industry alignment and agreement around groupings of specifications to provide interoperability and direction. WS-I brings the work of multiple standards development organizations together for the purpose of providing clarity and conformance around Web Services. In addition, this implementerís forum seeks to provide implementation guidance to customers."

None of that actually sounds very different from the W3C's recently-established Web Services Activity, but maybe there's more to this than consortium politics. Or maybe not.

And then there are those lingering questions about patents...

Is WSIO about making Web Services better, or just about politics, PR, and patents?