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Groundwork laid for WS-I expansion (and Sun seat)

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Members of the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization have approved a proposal expanding its board by two seats, potentially opening the door to Sun Microsystems Inc.

Nominations for election will be accepted between January 1 and February 15, with election itself scheduled for March.

Sun has welcomed the decision to expand the board. Executives recently expressed concern to ComputerWire over why the process to approve the board's expansion appeared to be taking so long - the WS-I board first approved the principle of expansion in June.

Sun is holding-out for board-level membership in an attempt to influence WS-I direction and policy. Executives believe it is inconceivable that Sun - the inventor of Java - should be absent from a body that wishes to drive interoperability of web services.

Santa Clara, California-based Sun was left out from WS-I's original line-up, whose 51 members included IBM, BEA, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Co. While Sun cried foul, evidence in Microsoft's ongoing anti-trust case suggested the company was excluded through the political posturing of long-time rival Microsoft.

Sun is not a shoo-in, though, as at least 12-other vendors have expressed their interest in a seat on the WS-I's board. Microsoft, meanwhile, resisted expansion until relatively recently.

Neil Charney, director of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft's .NET platforms strategy group, told ComputerWire in May that Java was already represented on the board by companies like San Jose, California-based BEA Systems Inc.

Sun has been offered the support of at least one WS-I member - IBM, who originally proposed expansion. A company spokesperson told ComputerWire in May, IBM would vote for Sun.

© ComputerWire

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