Microsoft quits web services panel

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Two Microsoft executives who joined the inaugural session of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) panel on Web services just two weeks ago have already quit the standards body, raising questions about the software giant's desire to create interoperable technologies. Allen Brown, one of Microsoft's W3C representatives, and Greg Meredith, from Microsoft's Research, joined the group, attended the first meeting on March 13, and then abruptly resigned. Spokespeople from the W3C expressed confusion and disappointment over the decision.

"I am totally mystified as to why Microsoft has decided to withdraw from the group," Steve Ross-Talbot, co-chairman of the working group, told InfoWorld last week. "When [the Microsoft representatives] attended, during the face-to-face last week, they both made outstanding contributions to the group in a very short space of time. They presented a position ... that was totally in keeping with the stated focus of this group as per the charter. I am at a loss to understand why Microsoft should withdraw after such a positive and valuable contribution."

A Microsoft spokesperson said that the company sent representatives to the meeting solely to determine the scope of the group's work. When they determined that the group's technology for Web services inter-communications was not compatible with that proposed by Microsoft, they "discontinued participation." Microsoft is seeking to get the W3C to ratify a scheme called Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), which is jointly supported by IBM and BEA Systems. However, Sun has already proposed a separate standard called WSCI (Web Services Choreography Interface). The W3C has previously stated that whatever implementation is adopted should be royalty free.

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