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For Immediate Release 

Susan Barich
Director of Communications
Silicon Valley World Internet Center



January 25, 2001, Palo Alto, Calif. -- In a live webcast produced last week by The Silicon Valley World Internet Center ( and its Executive Sponsor, IBM Corporation (, IBM's Director of e-Business Standards Strategy Bob Sutor and Internet standards experts from Sun Microsystems (, Red Hat, Inc. (, The Open Group (, and Microsoft Corporation (, agreed that interoperability is key to communication on the Internet, and that tested, certified standards are essential to that ability to communicate.

" Communication, which I maintain is really the most important part of this whole thing, should be independent of programming language used, and XML is key," said Sutor. Interoperability is essential, and the only way you are going to get interoperability is via standards."

"A standard is a way of doing things that many people use and which a guarantor protects from monopolization," said Simon Phipps, chief software evangelist at Sun Microsystems. "Today, standards turn technologies into business opportunities, and the future of our industry depends on open, community-based cooperation."

Phipps said that at the beginning of the 21st Century, the way standards come about has changed from the '80s and '90s. In the 80s, standards were written by small expert groups, in the 90s they were agreed to by companies, but in the 21st Centry they will be devised by communities, such as the Linux or JavaTM technology communities.

"We're moving in a fast-paced, hectic world where the idea at the crux of everything is interoperation and cooperation," said Phipps. "It is no longer possible for any one company to tell people how things should be. . In standards today, what matters is not so much the technology or even the data, it is who has agreed together to share that technology and data."

Gary Oliverio of Red Hat, Inc. talked about how, in the open-source community, developers approach and use standards.

"If you look at the wireless industry today", said Oliverio, "we have 5 competing standards and implementations, each overlapping one another with similar services. Is that value for the customer? This verticalized approach results in parallel markets where customers cannot leverage their investment. In the open source model, the platform standards AND implementation are agreed upon and shared, and this assures compatibility, improved economics, and ultimately, better customer flexibility and customer satisfaction.

Allen Brown of The Open Group suggested that innovation must be encouraged through open standards in order to accelerate return on investment for customers. "The customer's voice is not heard at all, the industry must find ways to respond to the requirements for interoperability that customers are articulating. Buyers want to know that products are tested and that they are certified to inter-operate." Brown said. He called for more coordination in the testing and certification of standards.

David Turner of Microsoft told the audience that Microsoft is looking at the concept of communication holistically.

"It's not just B2B. People need to communicate. There's communication between devices. There's communication going on all over the place, all the time. Our approach is to find out what is common to all communication. From there we look to specific-use cases and build on top of a core standard or a core set of standards in order to enable a broad number of communication-based activities."

Turner also told the group there are three distinct layers to Internet communication. "Understanding these layers has an impact on understanding where you need to focus, depending on what business you happen to be in."

XML and its derivative technologies, in Turner's view, are the core layer. "XML allows systems to communicate and to exchange data independent of the technologies used at either end. On top of that, you then get a collection of standards that enable the communication, such as SOAP and UDDI."

The third and top layer, which is very independent of the others, is the application layer. "That's the part where you will probably find the broadest amount of work going on, because that represents all the millions of ways people will represent information for their particular use."

The webcast can be viewed for the next 90 days by going to and clicking on the webcast link at the bottom of the home page. Presentations are also available on the site.

The Silicon Valley World Internet Center focuses on the advancement of Internet-related eMarkets, technologies, people, and ideas through the collaborative exchange of knowledge. The Center is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and works on behalf of its sponsors to develop programs specific to the expanding Internet Economy. As multi-corporate, third-party venue, the Center provides a physical and virtual forum for collaboration among technology leaders and key end-users. The Center, a for-profit, fee-for-service corporation, focuses primarily on the areas of eBusiness, eServices and wireless communication.


The Center, a dynamic think tank, showcase and collaboration facility for the advancement of eMarkets and Internet-related technologies, is currently sponsored by key companies in the Internet revolution: Amdocs, Inc., Deutsche Telekom, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, Metiom, SAP, and Sun Microsystems.