"Web services" try to rise above din
Is it the next big thing or the next big hype?
Just about every software maker has embraced "Web services" as its new mantra in the past year, claiming that the trend will revolutionize business and the use of the Internet. Although it was initially met with skepticism, the idea has gained credibility with the support of such industry leaders as Microsoft, IBM and Sun Microsystems.
The stakes are particularly high for the software industry, which is trying to revitalize sales in a punishing economy. But before the concept can take off, companies face an uphill battle in convincing customers that they need Web services--and in explaining what they are.