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WebMethods joins Sun on WS-I board

According to reports, integration software vendor WebMethods has been elected to the second open seat on the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I)'s board of directors, joining Sun Microsystems.

According to reports, integration software vendor WebMethods Inc. has been elected to the second open seat on the Web Services Interoperability Organization's (WS-I's) board of directors.

The Fairfax, Va.-based company issued a statement today announcing its victory over four other vendors, including...

Cape Clear Software Inc., Nokia Corp., SeeBeyond Corp. and VeriSign Inc. Andy Astor, WebMethods' vice president of enterprise Web services, will serve as the company's representative on the WS-I board.

News sources reported earlier Wednesday that Sun Microsystems Inc. had also won election to the company's board. Sun, which reportedly received the most votes, will serve a two-year term on the board. Second-place WebMethods will serve a one-year term. The WS-I is expected to officially release the election results later today.

Ronald Schmelzer, a senior analyst with Waltham, Mass.-based research firm ZapThink LLC, said the election results are hardly a surprise for Sun, but now the company needs to learn how to work with its fellow board members.

"It's going to be imperative that they realize that they're playing in a world where they can't just be the one player vetoing everything," Schmelzer said. "They need to be part of the solutions rather than part of the problems."

Schmelzer said that the WebMethods win was a surprise, because it had seemed that VeriSign had more support. He said that WebMethods could be looking for a way to stay relevant, as it may face pressure in the near future to evolve its EAI-based business model.

Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp., BEA Systems Inc., SAP AG and other companies founded the WS-I in February 2002 in order to guide the development of interoperable Web services products.

However, those vendors excluded Sun from the group to satisfy Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. According to evidence and testimony introduced during the software giant's antitrust trial, Gates sent an e-mail to his top executives indicating that he approved of Microsoft's involvement with the WS-I as long as Sun's role was minimized.

Despite the snub, Sun expressed interest in joining the organization, but only as a board member with the same clout as Microsoft and IBM. In October, the WS-I relented to industry pressure and added two limited-term seats to its board. Days later, Sun joined the WS-I and began its campaign to win election to the board.


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