An IBM-backed standards group that is competing to develop ebusiness and ecommerce technologies has bowed out to its Microsoft-led rival.
Instead of continuing with its efforts, Oasis said it will support Microsoft's ecommerce standard, called simple object access protocol (Soap).
Along with IBM, Oasis is supported by 130 other technology companies including Sun Microsystems and Bea Systems, and is backed by the United Nations. It had been working on specifications, called ebXML (ebusiness XML), that define how businesses should communicate with each other for ecommerce.
Bob Sutor, IBM programme director for ebusiness standards strategy, said: "We don't need unnecessary duplication. It means that software use can be simpler because [businesses] will have fewer specifications for messaging."
He added: "If you don't have a standard way of communicating, then people will create lots of ways of doing it and that will create big interoperability problems."
Soap was created by Microsoft and is backed by Commerce One, Compaq Computer and Hewlett Packard. The group handed over its specifications to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for ratification last May.
A W3C spokeswoman said a working draft of the XML protocol is expected by May, which will specify a uniform standard for exchanging XML messages and outline a common format for doing business over the internet.
AMR Research predicted the market for business-to-business transactions would climb to $5.7tn by 2004 from $581m in 2001, as more companies use the web to buy products and services.
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