The interoperability of web services standards is a step closer after a specification favoured by Microsoft and IBM was put to an open standards body.
The technical committee of the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (Oasis) will oversee the development of WS-Security, a standard developed by the Microsoft and IBM-led Web Services Interoperability Forum (WS-I).
Following the rejection of Sun Microsystems' request for a seat on the WS-I board, industry watchers had warned of the dangers of divergent standards.
But with the confirmation that WS-Security will go through Oasis, the concerns may have be allayed.
Bill Smith, director of Liberty Alliance technology at Sun, said: "Sun welcomes this submission because it will now be possible for the community to evaluate and build on this technology out in the open.
"We hope to see all web services specifications made available under royalty-free terms."
WS-Security defines a set of Simple Object Access Protocol message header extensions that implement integrity and confidentiality for web services.
But input from such a high number of involved companies in Oasis could lead to a long gestation period although, in the long term, this is likely to benefit the industry.
Gary Barnett, principal consultant at analyst firm Ovum, said: "The challenge for the web services guys is that the industry has never properly advanced internet security.
"But it could be that they will coalesce around the new security model."
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