Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Is Top-Down a Downer?

Critics see the top-down, personalized structure of the consortium as a problem in policy-making. It may ultimately undermine the consortium itself-by causing members to lose interest.

At the June 1996 meeting of W3C’s General Assembly Advisory Committee, “110 out of 140 members” were present, says Carl Cargill, an independent standards consultant who sits on the consortium’s eight-person advisory board and was formerly Netscape’s representative to W3C. By December, when a meeting was held in England, membership in the W3C had risen to 170, but only 90 showed up. In June of 1997, only 70 out of 180 members showed up for the semiannual meeting held in Japan. At the end of that year, only 70 of 240 member organizations were represented at the meeting in Geneva. Cargill says he thinks companies have stopped sending people to meetings because they realize that the General Assembly’s Advisory Council Committee merely rubber-stamps what Berners-Lee wants to do.

At least one major player has gone further than merely not attending the assemblies. MCI recently withdrew from the consortium altogether, citing the costs in staff time of participating. “Effective participation in the work of W3C required a higher commitment of senior staff time than we could justify,” says Vint Cerf, an MCI senior vice president and one of the architects of today’s Internet.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Web

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me