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Report: Web services a decade away

Market researcher IDC says that although corporations are adopting the concept, it'll be a good, long while before the ultimate promise of Web services is fulfilled.

The ultimate promise of Web services--delivering software as a service--is at least a decade away from being fulfilled, according to a report from IDC.

In the report, released Thursday,


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the market researcher said that Web services are proving their worth as corporations adopt the concept and plug disparate systems together, but that the changeover still has years to go to reach its high-water mark.

IDC's report echoes what chief information officers have been saying for months: CIOs are hedging their bets amid multiple standards and looking for more agreement on key issues such as security--the underpinning of Web services.

Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and numerous other companies are pitching their notions of Web services as a way convince customers to buy from a single technology provider.

But tight IT budgets mean that Web services are being used merely as integration tools, said IDC, noting that "most of the Web services vision is just pure speculation."

IDC argues that delivering software as a service will require a lot of components and applications that don't yet exist. In addition, "the sharing of components and data required by the Web services vision will raise a number of difficult business, legal and contractual issues," said IDC.

For Web services to work as imagined, IDC said, technology hurdles must be the first challenges overcome, but businesses also will have to change the way they view software and intellectual property rights. Proponents of the Web services vision also face work in the areas of security, standards and privacy.