W3C

World Wide Web Consortium Grows to Over 500 Members

Organizations from 34 Countries Lead the Web to its Full Potential

Contact America --
Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
Contact Europe --
Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94
Contact Asia --
Saeko Takeuchi, <saeko@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

(also available in French and Japanese)


http://www.w3.org/ -- 17 April 2001 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced that it now has over 500 member organizations, representing industry, research, government, citizens groups, and other organizations committed to the development of the Web and its universality, from over 30 countries.

W3C Draws Leaders and Innovators

Nearly six and one-half years ago, W3C was formed by Tim Berners-Lee as the place for both the design and standardization of components of Web architecture. At that time, in 1994, the Web was in danger of fragmentation; it was at W3C that competing interests met, discussed, and had to work together. Now, every Web developer knows about HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS); it is at W3C that these and many core Web technologies came to be.

As of today, over 500 organizations have committed to membership in the W3C. This is in addition to the countless Invited Experts who have given time and lent their expertise to the development of 26 W3C Recommendations. They come to W3C because it is the place where the work is done, and the Web of the future is being built today, including work on the Semantic Web, XML Protocol, and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

W3C Produces Standard-Setting, Interoperable Technologies Through Consensus

Twenty years ago, people bought software that only worked with other software from the same vendor. Today, people have more freedom to choose, and they rightly expect software components to be interchangeable. They also expect to be able to receive Web content with their preferred software - a graphical desktop browser, speech synthesizer, braille display, or a mobile phone. W3C, a vendor-neutral organization, promotes interoperability by designing and promoting open (non-proprietary) computer languages and protocols that avoid the market fragmentation of the past. This is achieved through consensus and encouraging an open forum for discussion.

W3C is unique in that it performs the functions of design and standardization concurrently. As a result, W3C has produced technologies ahead of the product curve in some cases: technologies which are now being embraced across industries internationally. To ensure accountability to all users of the Web, the W3C Process provides a clear description of how work is started, performed, reviewed, and completed.

W3C Working Groups make direct appeals for review from the developer community at large, and respond to comments from non-W3C members as well as members. The W3C Membership total may achieve record levels, but ultimately the work done is to serve the Web and its users to the fullest extent.

The World Wide Web Consortium is Truly World Wide

One of W3C's primary goals is to make these benefits available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability. To this end, W3C's efforts in Internationalization, Device Independence, Voice Browser, and its Web Accessibility Initiative all illustrate our commitment to universal access.

W3C has three hosts, each of which has technical experts who lead or oversee the work done in 22 W3C's Activities. These hosts are, in order of their joining: MIT in the USA, INRIA in France, and Keio University in Japan. Over 65 people work for W3C worldwide; this makes W3C unique amongst standards bodies, in that these are largely technical staff.

In addition, a number of countries have established W3C Offices in order to promote international involvement in Web development and in W3C. These local points of contact help ensure that W3C and its specifications are known in those countries. Each Office works with its regional Web community to develop participation in W3C Activities.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 500 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/