For a short time in 2001, it seemed as though web services might emerge into the market without the usual in-fighting and politics that has marred the development of almost every other standards-based technology. But now there is no chance of that.
In April 2002, Sun Microsystems strongly criticised the motives of the Web Services Interoperability Organisation (WS-I) after it emerged that the software and systems vendor has been excluded from joining the organisation's board.
The trouble began when the WS-I, which was set up in February 2002 by IBM and Microsoft to promote interoperability between web services, launched three new working groups and announced a list of new members. Despite having applied to join the board in February, Sun has not been included.
Since this revelation, Simon Phipps, Sun's chief technology evangelist, has branded the WS-I as a front for Microsoft and IBM to disseminate their own "political sentiments veiled in openness". He also says IBM's director for ebusiness standards strategy, Bob Sutor, and Neil Charney, director of Microsoft's .Net platforms strategy group, conspired to prevent Sun from being involved in other web services initiatives.
"Sutor and Charney have a Soviet-style view of history. In other words, they like to re-write it, painting Sun as a company that doesn't support web services," says Phipps. Sutor and Charney's defence for not admitting Sun to the WS-I board: "Sun is not involved enough in web services."