The new SOAP transport will be released as part of SIF 2.5, which is getting close to release.
Web services as a strategy was fundamentally flawed in my view because it was so un-web. It took an idea that hardly worked on an Intranet - remote manipulation of tightly-specified objects - and tried to make it work on the Internet. It led to software applications that by default were complex, brittle and heavy. Although I know many brilliant software engineers who worked unexpected miracles with Web Services, implementation by the common corporate programmer was stodgy in every case I heard about. In the end Web Services became an intranet tool for most uses, rendering the "W" incorrect even if WS* will be with enterprise developers for years to come as a kind of architectural COBOL.
Whatever other origins it had, the whole movement was, as far as my own experience recalls, transmitted around the industry by a senior analyst from a large analyst firm visiting all the key players and asking them about their "web services strategy". As a consequence they all assumed Web Services were a key strategy for their competitors and put huge effort into devising a strategy of their own, with the result that a mediating industry movement was created - with dodgy membership rules at the outset - as each corporation attempted to take the leading role.
The visit the analyst made to Sun was memorable and resulted in the abortive Sun One software product strategy which in my view was the fumbled ball that killed the company. I'll leave it to Anne Thomas Manes to tell the full story some time as she was heavily involved in trying to talk Sun off the course they eventually, fatefully took - yes, she worked for Sun back in 2000 and argued nobly against the tide.