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Citing Change in Direction and Lack of Results, Sun Withdraws from I3C

NEW YORK, Oct. 31 (GenomeWeb News) - Sun Microsystems has pulled out of the Interoperable Informatics Infrastructure Consortium, GenomeWeb News has learned.


The I3C, which Sun played a major role in founding in early 2001,  has deviated from its original mission of quickly implementing interoperability protocols for the life science informatics community, according to Loralyn Mears, segment manager for life sciences market development at Sun. The decision to withdraw is "really related to return on investment," she said. "When we looked at the ROI coming from the I3C, it just wasn't there. The user community, which is the whole point of what we were trying to achieve, had just slowly disappeared...and despite best efforts, there was no way to bring that user community back in. So without them, there is no ROI. It's just a bunch of vendors sitting around."


Andy Palmer, CIO of Infinity Pharmaceuticals and president of the I3C board, said that Sun's departure is "in part a reflection of the changes in the I3C to move more toward an end-user-centric organization versus a vendor-centric organization."


Sun "has a lot on its plate right now," Palmer said, "and the kinds of programs that the I3C is running in the life science may not be in line with the strategic direction of Sun." 


Sun is not the first founding member of I3C to withdraw its membership. Incogen pulled out of the organization earlier this year because "things were not going the way we wanted them to go," said Maciek Sasinowski, Incogen CEO. Originally, Sasinowski said, "we decided that we wanted to be known not for big PR, but for getting things done in a short time frame." Within the last year, however, the I3C "became much more slower moving and a PR outlet for some of the larger companies," he said.


Palmer noted that the original vision for I3C was "very grand," and the long-term direction of the organization "is probably going to involve the close collaboration with other standards bodies, vendors, and end users."


"It would have been nice if Sun had continued their membership," said Palmer, "but they've already made a huge contribution to the I3C."

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