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IBM WebSphere : Competitive Review Building Web Services the right way using IBM WebSphere Studio -- IBM's response to Microsoft's assertion that .NET is superior to J2EE indicates that, even though much of the development community sees web services as a "level playing field," the vendors will continue to duke it out over whose technology is superior, easier-to-use, etc.

Of course, there are plenty of SmallCos pioneering in web services, so the development community should have enough choices to avoid being trampled by the BigCos.

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