I tend to think of echo as being mostly a waste of time and energy - while there is a need for a blog posting API (the Blogger and MetaWebLog API's are worse than hopeless) - there's no compelling need for an RSS replacement. At least not that I can see. Especially given the fact that adoption of this new format will be slow (if it escapes the ring of Echo developers at all), and it will just be one more blasted format for the rest of us to deal with.
So yeah, I'm cynical about this effort. If it comes to pass, I'll support it with BottomFeeder, whether I'm happy about it or not. John Robb, on the other hand, has a whole new level of cynicism in play:
RSS and Echo. Well the big companies have finally made their move in the weblog world with Sam Ruby being directed by IBM to take control of an emerging syndication standard. Why now? Big publishing companies are starting to think about using RSS (really simple syndication) not only to automate the delivery of news to readers but also to automate the production of news. IBM is very interested in this given their longstanding and extremely lucrative relationship with the WSJ ($500m over the last three years) and other publishers. It would be against their interest to let a simple syndication standard emerge that didn't require lots of IBM iron and software expertise. RSS had to die. Also, if you small vendors or individual contributors think that you are gaining some say or freedom with the development of Echo, think again. The big companies are going to roll right over you as the push this forward over the next couple of years.
FUD? Cynicism? Tin Foil hat time? I don't know.