"IBM announced this week that it had contributed its open-source reference implementation of SOAP 1.1, named SOAP4J, to the Apache Software Foundation's XML Project at xml.apache.org. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a lightweight XML-based protocol that could help create a new generation of distributed services across the Web."
"SOAP seems to be a leading candidate to define a new layer of messaging services for the Internet, largely based on XML and HTTP. However, it is not the only candidate; the W3C has yet to weigh in on whether it even considers SOAP's problem domain to be within its scope of activity. At WWW9 in Amsterdam, the W3C's Dan Connolly organized a panel on XML protocols on which a dissenting view was expressed that protocols such as SOAP were not really necessary--these applications could be accomplished within the existing framework."
"Yet it is likely that the W3C (pushed by its members) will take action on SOAP and open some kind of XML protocols working group. Then the question will come up as to whether they should standardize on SOAP, or simply use it as one of many possible sources for yet another specification. Certainly, with IBM and Microsoft as strong supporters of SOAP, one has good reason to dismiss some worry about the vagaries of the standards process and just jump in."