His reply is telling - it's headed towards W3C "standardization" and it's being backed by IBM and Microsoft. Note that the word "better" does not appear. Then he links me to this article. I thought this comment from the article was interesting:
As usual though, MS has decided that they don't need to adhere to the whole spec. In their SOAP for Java SDK they modify the namespace (which breaks some other implementations), use a limited combination of 1.0 and 1.1 fault codes (and improperly document it), and include many serious bugs.
Show of hands - how many web services have you come across that actually required SOAP? I have yet to come across one here at work. So far it's been nothing but the simple data types that XML-RPC supports.
But, hey, SOAP is more complex and has corporate backing so it *MUST* be better, right? The Java mentality strikes again.