From a comment on 456 Berea Street:
From my point of view a W3C HTML Working Group is like parliament, something that says what the rules are. As far as I know there is no way to be a businessman and a member of parliament at the same time.
I wonder how many other people actually think the W3C is some charity organization. It isn’t. I’d say the W3C is mostly driven by commercial entities. Sure, a few organizations and independent people are part of the W3C as well, but the “businessman” (still geeks though) form the majority of people in most Working Groups. This is why the W3C has a Web Services Activity for instance.
I don’t really see that as a problem though. Corperations are the ones that can deliver the people to work on standards and can tell you how an experimental implementation worked out in a deployed product, et cetera. I suppose the biggest problem at the W3C is openness and they’re (slowly) working towards addressing that.
It's an interesting point. I think it's important to note though, a lot of those commercial organisations employee the smartest people and pay them to work with W3C (for at least part of their time).
During my time of working with W3C I did experience some commercial motivations, but it was much less frequent than a genuine desire to make the best standard. Admittedly being overtly commercial at the expense of users in a WAI working group would leave a sour taste in your mouth.
By definition a consortium can contain companies as well as governments as member.