Sun to Join WS-I Ranks

Sun has its eye on a seat on the group's board of directors. WS-I to Expand Board of Directors

After much debate over its position among the Web services elite, Sun Microsystems Inc. will announce Thursday afternoon that it is joining the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization in hopes of being elected as a member of the groups board of directors.

Suns move comes a week after the WS-I announced that it is expanding its board of directors by two seats.

Russ Castronovo, a spokesman for Sun, confirmed Thursday that the Santa Clara, Calif., company will join the WS-I and then run for election as a board member. Sun officials were disappointed when the company was not invited to join as a founding member of the organization when it formed in February, largely due to the efforts of IBM and Microsoft Corp.

A Sun source said that with the move to join WS-I, "we should expect to see a little less of the stone throwing" that has occurred in the past regarding Sun by some WS-I members.

During a conference call with reporters in August, Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Suns software group, said Sun would only join WS-I if it could become a board member.

Castronovo said that by joining the organization now, "this allows us to get in and then run for a seat on the board."

Sources close to the WS-I said IBM took the high ground and made the original recommendation to open up the WS-I board, almost as a nod to Sun. In a prepared statement, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., welcomed Sun into the group.

"WS-I is dedicated to ensuring that interoperability of Web services can be defined, measured and tested, accelerating the adoption and practical use of this important technology" the company said. "The organization is open to any company that wants to make a contribution to industry agreement on common standards for Web services. "

On Oct. 17, when announcing the two new seats, WS-I officials said only WS-I members will be eligible to run for election and that nominations will be accepted between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15. Elections will be in March, with the new directors taking their seats in April. More than 150 companies have joined WS-I since February.

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