Sun Wins WS-I Seat

Sun has won a two-year position on the Web Services Interoperability Organization board of directors, sources said.

Sun Microsystems Inc. has won a two-year position on the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) board of directors, sources said.

In winning this slot, Sun joins the leaders in Web services on the board of an organization initially formed with the apparent intent of keeping the Unix systems vendor out of its ranks. Now Sun is a member of that board, with the same rights and responsibilities as the rest of the 11 members.

The other open board seat went to webMethods Inc. The company will serve a one-year term.

Mark Hapner, Suns lead architect for Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and chief Web services strategist for Java Web services, will represent Sun on the WS-I board. Hapner told eWEEK in a prior interview that he was pleased to have the opportunity to run for the WS-I board slot and said that Sun has participated "strongly" in the organization since it joined last October. Sun has participated in WS-I efforts involving business process integration, developing sample applications for testing interoperability, and chairing a security working group. The Santa Clara, Calif., company also has been instrumental in developing and promoting Web services standards like WS-Reliability, he said. And Sun has made conformance to the WS-I Basic Profile 1.0 a requirement of J2EE 1.4 compliance, he added.

"Sun has a long history, and we can bring that history to the board," Hapner said. "Our focus is on ensuring that interoperability is given the proper value and that standards are provided in a royalty-free manner. We want to see the whole process of creating standards be as open and democratic as possible."

Suns work with the Java Community Process, which is the multi-vendor coalition that votes on Java platform specifications, gave the company an advantage over competitors for the slot as well, Hapner said.

"We found in our work in the Java compatibility arena that it takes significant investment and dogged persistence to achieve interoperability," he said. "The payback is customers feel secure in broadly pursuing interoperability."

Indeed, Suns Java expertise itself was a distinguishing factor that set Sun apart from others in the running, the company said.

"We are the representative for Java and J2EE, which will be one of the two primary platforms on which people will develop Web services," Hapner said.

Hapner said Suns history is that of a leader in the Web services space. The company has had strong participation in the evolution of Simple Object Access Protocol 1.2 and Web Services Description Language 1.2, as well as other specifications and foundational Web technologies, he said.

The results of the election, held last week, are expected to be announced later Wednesday. But several sources said Sun gained the most votes, giving the company the two-year position on the board.

In court proceedings last year, attorneys for the states that were seeking more stringent penalties against Microsoft Corp., presented internal Microsoft documents that indicated the software giant wanted to restrict Suns participation in WS-I.

Hapner said all that is now behind the company and the WS-I organization, and Sun plans to participate fully in taking the Web services platform forward.

"I think that Sun brings a different viewpoint to the board than many others" on it. Overcoming the hurdle of interoperability remains the biggest issue for the group, he said.

Sun will begin its two-year term on April 1, 2003.

"We would have liked to have had a more permanent seat on the board, but if we win, I believe our actions and our record would allow us to continue on the board. We would establish a record of strong support and active participation," Hapner said.

The nominated companies and individuals were: Hapner; Jorgen Thelin, chief scientist at Cape Clear; Juhani Murto, senior manager of Web services architecture at Nokia; Ugo Corda, principal standards analyst at SeeBeyond; Sundar Krishnamurthy, a product manager at VeriSign; and Andy Astor, vice president of Enterprise Web Services at webMethods. However, VeriSign missed some key meetings and was deemed ineligible for the board.

More than 150 companies have joined WS-I since its formation last February.

WS-Is nine founding members are Accenture Inc., BEA Systems Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and SAP AG.

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