W3C: Short for the World Wide Web Consortium, W3C is an organization that focuses on developing standards for the internet. The group was founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, who is widely regarded as the inventor of the World Wide Web. It was formed in collaboration with CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), where the internet originated, and is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
W3C seeks to enforce compatibility and agreement among its 385 active members. For example, if several vendors have differing and incompatible versions of HTML on the market, W3C tries to get all vendors to adopt a set of core principles to improve the display of HTML webpages.
W3C's mission includes web access for everyone on every device. The group's website explains that the communication, commerce, and other opportunities of the web should be available to all people, no matter what type of hardware, software, or network they use. They also want the internet to stay accessible to everyone regardless of native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability. Because so many devices today can connect to the internet, the organization also supports web access on smartphones and mobile phones, PDAs, televisions, and even some home appliances.
In addition to supporting compatibility and accessibility on the web, W3C also develops software, leads education and outreach programs, and offers an open forum for discussions of the web. They are funded by research grants, member dues, private and public funds, and donations.