Microsoft exits web services group

Two Microsoft officials have abruptly quit a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) panel on web services choreography as abruptly as...

Two Microsoft officials have abruptly quit a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) panel on web services choreography as abruptly as they had joined. 

The two officials, Allen Brown, who serves as one of the company's W3C representatives, and Greg Meredith, who is in Microsoft's research organisation, had attended the initial meeting of the W3C Web Services Choreography Working Group on 13 March, according to Oracle, which hosted the session at its headquarters in California.

Prior to that, Microsoft had indicated it would not participate in the group. The choreography panel is examining how to standardise linkages and usage patterns between web services for more automated transactions via web services. 

Steven VanRoekel, Microsoft's director of web services, said that two Microsoft research officials attended the meeting to determine the scope of the group's work in reference to contract language. The officials discontinued participation after finding out the group's work on contract language did not coincide with theirs, VanRoekel said. Contract language pertains to establishing communications between end points. 

A co-chairman of the working group, Steve Ross-Talbot, chief scientist at Enigmatec, characterized Microsoft's departure as a resignation and expressed disappointment. 

"As co-chair of this working group I am totally mystified as to why Microsoft has decided to withdraw from the group. When Dr. Meredith and Dr. Brown attended, during the face-to-face last week, they both made outstanding contributions to the group in a very short space of time," Ross-Talbot said in an e-mail. "They presented a position relative to BPEL4WS, of which Microsoft is a co-author along with IBM and BEA, that was totally in keeping with the stated focus of this group as per the charter.

"I am at a loss to understand why Microsoft should withdraw after such a positive and valuable contribution."  

Microsoft, IBM, and BEA Systems have proposed a choreography scheme known as Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), which has not been submitted for formal W3C consideration. The W3C desires that technologies submitted for its standardisation process carry royalty-free stipulations for their implementation, and Microsoft has not made such a commitment regarding BPEL4WS. IBM and BEA have. 

"Our doors however will remain open to Microsoft, and we would welcome their return," Talbot said. "Given the position of the group relative to BPEL4WS, I am optimistic about the contributions from BEA [officials] who are in the group and of the prospect of having IBM join us and provide what would be valuable input." 

IBM also has not participated in the working group.

Oracle's representative said last week that Microsoft in participating was seeking a single standard that that finds a middle ground between BPEL4WS and the Sun Microsystems led WSCI (Web Services Choreography Interface) specification. Microsoft wanted to have the W3C effort complement BPEL4WS, according to Oracle.

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