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IBM/Sun/Bea standards group takes on MS SOAP

Long rumbling dispute ends

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Standards group Oasis has agreed to integrate a Microsoft-backed ebusiness technology into its own efforts, so drawing the line under a technology dispute that has been rumbling for over a year.

Oasis, whose members include IBM, Sun Microsystems and BEA Systems, has announced a project to integrate the SOAP(Simple Object Access Protocol) specification into the ebXML (electronic business XML) messaging specification, a developing standard for transporting business messages over the Internet.

Microsoft has criticised ebXML, which involves developing ways of using XML in a consistent way to exchange electronic business data, as moving too slowly. Meanwhile Oasis members have regarded SOAP with suspicion, fearing the development of a technology which is too Microsoft-centric.

Now both groups have agreed to bury their differences for the sake of interoperability, and in order for Oasis to complete its UN-backed efforts to draw up a specification for ebXML by its May deadline.

Call us cynical, but you can expect arguments about implementations and standards to kick off again after that. The stakes involved of establishing a grip of the business-to-business transactions market, which according to AMR research will reach $5.7 trillion by 2004, are just to high for companies not to try an gain advantage through the standards-setting process. ®

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Peace declaration by Oasis (not Noel and Liam - but the ebusiness standards group)

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