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Opinion: Less hype, more consolidation coming in 2003 Site Editor Brent Sheets offers his thoughts on what to expect from the Web services industry in 2003.

Fasten your seatbelts folks, because Web services will be shifting into high gear in 2003.

Brent Sheets
This coming year, you can expect more vendors tripping over each other to proclaim their support for Web services. The later they get to the party, the louder they are.

Here's a challenge for you – find a major IT print publication during 2003 that doesn't mention Web services somewhere between its covers. Good luck, as I don't think you're going to find one. Web services are on the IT radar screen to stay.

2003 will mark the final transition past the early hype and confusion. Corporate adoption will increase as companies embrace the "spend now, save later" benefits of Web services. I don't mean to give the impression that all is rosy in Web services land -- you can certainly expect several more spats between the major vendors.

News you've used
Not all news is good news, right? Well, we've assembled a list of the news summaries that piqued your interest the most in 2002.

  • Web services future will not be ruled by Java or .NET 10 May 2002
    IT Directors planning to introduce Web services should be aware that no single supplier's strategy will dominate.
  • Why Web services will be the next big thing in IT 12 Feb 2002
    Why do Microsoft, Sun and IBM all agree about the importance of Web services?
  • Microsoft .NET software's hidden cost 21 Jun 2002
    Companies planning on moving their old programs to Microsoft's new .NET software plan had better prepare for sticker shock.

  • Web services' dirty little secret 28 Feb 2002
    Hold your enthusiasm over Web services, this commentary suggests.
  • Unfortunately, the non-proprietary nature of Web services based on simplicity and open standards doesn't come easy to the old-school vendor mindset. But the powerhouse players are all too aware of the momentum behind Web services and each realizes there's no turning back – they must work together.

    Consolidation is coming. Expect acquisition activity to increase as the strongest players purchase specialization to fill in the gaps in their product lines. Some of the smallest vendors remaining shall find it necessary to merge with complementary partners of their own size to survive this round of consolidation and economic climate.

    The potential cost savings that Web services offer shall force projects up the corporate food chain. The early adopters have now moved beyond simple pilot programs and we can expect to see Web services put to innovative uses during 2003. In many ways, Web services are the poor man's EAI and EDI, and inroads shall be made in this area. (I'm sure I'll get some e-mail making a statement like that, but there you are.)

    Special report: What's coming in '03?
    >>CLICK for more of's Special Report: 2003 Predictions
    Coming Monday: We'll conclude our series when our technology experts offer up their opinions on what the new year will bring.

    >>CLICK to e-mail Brent Sheets at and tell him whether you agree or disagree with his predictions.

    January 1, 2003 marks the first year anniversary of We're very thankful to each and every one of our more than 121,000 members who have made us the premier destination for Web services information. So stay tuned, as 2003 will prove to be an exciting year for Web services and for

    2003: Hot issues

  • Security standardization
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  • 2003: Potential obstacles

  • Technology spending slump
  • Vendor infighting
  • 2003: Dark horse

  • Business application monitoring (BAM)
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