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Apple is stepping up to an expanded leadership team helping steward the magnum opus that is HTML 5.

The manager of Apple's WebKit WebApps Team, Maciej Stachowiak, has been named co-chairperson of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) HTML 5 working group.

Stachowiak is a longtime developer on the WebKit open-source browser engine and was one of the earliest engineers on Apple's Safari project.

He joins fellow co-chairperson newcomer Paul Cotton, partner group manager for Microsoft, who helps drive Microsoft's interoperability and standards strategy.

Cotton has also chaired the W3C's XML Query and the WS-Policy working groups. He replaces Microsoft's group program manager for Internet Explorer platform and security, Chris Wilson, and joins Sam Ruby, senior technical staff member in the emerging technologies group of IBM, in leading the HTML 5 group.

W3C Tim Berners-Lee said the three would work closely with the HTML 5 editor and group on something he said is tremendously important to the web. Berners-Lee in the past has said the fifth edition of HTML would re-invent HTML.

Why three co-chairs? "Clearly, there is a lot of work to do. Sam, Paul, and Maciej bring particular skills to the job (whether it is Maciej's experience with WebKit or Paul's with working group processes)," Berners-Lee said.

"I am confident that these three will work out a chairing protocol where progress is consistent with this group's culture."

Vendor politics within the group recently meant Apple, Mozilla Foundation, Opera, Microsoft, and Google could not agree on a common set of audio or video codecs for use in the proposed specification. The debate had centered on the inclusion of either Ogg Theora or H.264 - or both - in HTML 5. ®

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