San Diego, CALIF. — Antone Gonsalves reports that Hewlett-Packard Co., which had refused to join the UDDI project unless co-founders IBM Corp. Microsoft Corp. and Ariba Inc. loosened their control, has agreed to participate in the major new initiative for defining e-services standards for the Web.
Sources within HP said the Palo Alto, Calif., company decided to join after the three co-founders agreed to drop their veto rights over any technology submitted to the consortium of more than three-dozen companies.
“We would only join if that were to happen, and apparently they were under pressure to have us in this [consortium],” a source said. HP would officially announce its participation on Wednesday.
In refusing to join the project, the computer hardware vendor had said the process for defining standards within the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration Project heavily favored IBM (stock: IBM), Microsoft, and Ariba.
UDDI, announced last month, aims to define standards for registering, discovering and using e-services, which are application programming interfaces provided at an Internet URL that can be invoked so as to obtain a service.
If widely adopted, UDDI would have a huge impact on electronic commerce, since it would give companies standards for integrating services over the Web.
For example, an airline, hotel, and car-rental company could each incorporate each other’s offerings on their own site without intensive development efforts.
HP had objected to that portion of the UDDI contract that gave the three founding companies veto rights over any technology submitted for consideration by the consortium, which includes Sun Microsystems Inc.; Nortel Networks Corp.; SAP AG; Andersen Consulting; Dell Computer Corp.; Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.; and American Express Co.
The three co-founders justified the tight control by saying it would lead to faster deployment of UDDI registries, which is where companies would store the definition of their e-services and the APIs used to access those services.
The consortium planned to submit the technology to an independent standards body by the end of 2001.
In refusing to join UDDI, HP officials had said the company was willing to continue developing its competing E-speak technology on its own.
E-speak, which would accomplish the same goal as UDDI, has been under development for more than 18 months and is the cornerstone of HP’s e-services strategy.
Nevertheless, industry experts had questioned whether HP could gather enough industry support behind E-speak to eclipse UDDI, which appeared to have more industry momentum.
The HP sources refused to say whether the company would contribute E-speak to the UDDI project.