Sun to step aboard Web services group

The consortium of companies--which includes Sun Microsystems' rivals IBM and Microsoft--is working to make emerging Web services products compatible.

Alorie Gilbert
Alorie Gilbert Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Alorie Gilbert
writes about software, spy chips and the high-tech workplace.
2 min read
Sun Microsystems said Thursday that it plans to join the Web Services Interoperability Organization, a consortium of companies working to make emerging Web services products compatible.

The move is a reversal of the

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company's previous stance that it would join the group only as a board member so as to be on equal footing with IBM and Microsoft, the group's founding board members--and Sun rivals. Other board members include BEA Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Intel.

Sun has agreed to join as a contributing member, a lower ranking position than board member, to be eligible for a position on the board, which the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) recently agreed to expand next year with two new seats.

The decision to expand is a response to Sun and other software companies that have been lobbying for positions on the board. IBM, pushing for Sun's participation in the consortium, proposed the expansion last Spring. Sun's Java software is a popular foundation for Web services.

"Sun has received requests from many parties to participate in WS-I, and the new board member positions allowed us to reconsider our original stance and join the organization," said Mark Herring, senior director for Java Web Services at Sun Microsystems, in a statement.

Sun's decision comes amid a power struggle among the three companies over control of the group and the overall direction of Web services. Nearly every software maker has touted Web services as the future of software, allowing companies to more easily build software that can interact via the Internet.

Aside from Sun, a dozen other companies have also expressed interest in joining the board. These companies include Ariba, Cisco Systems, Iona Technologies, KPMG International, Novell, Reed Business Information, Reuters, Tibco, VeriSign and WebMethods.

The WS-I is expected to elect the two new directors in March.