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The organization that tries to advance web technology standards – the World Wide Web Consortium or W3C – has run into a roadblock: Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla.
Earlier this week, the four major browser makers expressed dissatisfaction with the W3C's DOM 4.1 specification, which defines a variety of new capabilities associated with the Document Object Model, through which web documents are described.
The specification – which is on its way to the Candidate Recommendation (CR) stage, a step in the process before formal approval – only has meaning if it is implemented in web browsers. And that's no longer a given.
Its clear that browser makers are showing their muscle, and it worries me because two of them have commercial interests at stake that may clash with the public interest which is what standards should serve.
Where WHATWG values technical precision, he said, the W3C "is an organization supported by large annual fees from large companies, and its primary organizational goal is to ensure these companies remain as paying members."
Hickson pointed to the W3C's approach to digital restrictions rights management (DRM aka Encrypted Media Extensions) – something opposed by many in the web community, but supported by W3C members with substantial interests in copyrighted content.