BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle will send top technology executives to answer questions from analysts, the audience and each other at Comnet 2003.They say the press only brings bad news. Nonsense. Here's some good news. A month ago, I challenged four top Web services companies to take part in a presidential-style debate at the Comnet 2003 conference in January - and all of them accepted the challenge.BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle will send top technology executives to answer questions from analysts, the audience and each other. The debate will give you - the buyers and implementers of\u00a0Web services - a better understanding of each company's strategy and their products. Web services are among the most talked-about technologies today because they promise to transform how we build and use applications and - more important - how we conduct e-business.Network World's Web Services Showdown, which will be held from 12:45 to 2 p.m., Jan. 28 in Washington, D.C., will give attendees a chance to hear the straight dope on Web services - without PowerPoint slides or marketing spiels.Our vendor executives first will take questions from IDC analyst Tony Picardi and me, and then they'll spend a big chunk of time firing questions at one another. Finally, audience members will get answers to the issues on their minds.The vendors are sending top-notch people to the showdown. BEA will have Adam Bosworth, senior vice president and chief architect of advanced development, while IBM will be represented by Steve Holbrook, program director for emerging e-business standards. From Microsoft we'll have Neil Charney, director of the platform strategy group, and Oracle's speaker will be Jeff Mischkinsky, director of Java and Web services standards.I'm pleased that these major suppliers all rose to the debate challenge because it shows their commitment to customers. It isn't easy to get up in front of a large audience and answer unscripted questions, and I appreciate the support from BEA, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.In addition to the live debate at Comnet, which you can learn more about at www.comnetexpo.com, we'll provide in-depth coverage of the event in Network World and on Network World Fusion.While Tony and I are preparing our questions, we'd love to hear about the Web services issues on your mind. What confuses or concerns you about Web services? What do you want to know from each vendor? Send me your thoughts, and we'll be sure to get your questions on the list.See you there!