Tomorrow, computing giants and sometime-competitors IBM and Microsoft will announce an alliance aimed at creating a Web-services standard. The alliance--called the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WSIO)--hopes to make it easier for businesses and consumers to do business over the Web using lightweight, XML-based Web services and several computing platforms.
The WSIO reportedly also will include BEA Systems, Intel, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and other companies. Getting such disparate companies to work together is no easy task, and the existence of this alliance hints at how important Web services are to each company's future.
Aside from competitive concerns, another issue that could affect the alliance is the debate about underlying technologies. Microsoft and its allies push Microsoft .NET as the foundation for Web services; Sun and other Microsoft rivals prefer Java. But Web services can operate outside of these technologies and allow for interoperability, which was probably a key factor in getting these companies to work together.