Once again Microsoft has not been invited to the Internet party. Following its exclusion from the announcement of the 'Pure Java' specification for Sun's programming language, it also missed out on the formation of the Internet Training and Certification Consortium by IBM, Sun, Novell and Netscape.
The four companies announced on Tuesday that they were pooling their resources and experience to form the Consortium. This, they hope, will result in the development of a multivendor, global standard in training.
But any global standard drawn up seems unlikely to be endorsed by Microsoft, which was not invited to join the consortium because, according to a consortium spokesman, it opposes the idea of a multivendor organisation. Microsoft has made no comment to date.
The consortium members said they had polled end user IS organisations in the US and Europe about issues that were delaying the implementation of Net technologies and found that skills shortage was the most widely cited problem.
There was also concern about the length and complexity of existing training programmes and questions about the long term value and return on investment on training in a technology sector that is evolving so rapidly: acquired skills might be redundant in a relatively short space of time.
No pricing details for consortium courses have been released. Each of the consortium member will contribute to the start-up and running costs of the project. No figures have been released about the levels of funding, nor have any details about how the certification process will work in practice.
But the consortium is confident that its first courses should be available from early next year once the participating suppliers have appointed a third party vendor to manage the scheme. Each consortium member will continue to offer its own proprietary training initiatives.
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