I thought Phonon was getting replaced with QtMultimedia? I can't keep up with all of this anymore
First, no it wasn't. There was a great deal of third-party speculation on this, and perhaps someone on the QtMultimedia side made some premature comments to this effect, but neither the phonon developers, the developers of software using phonon, nor most of the QtMultimedia developers claimed this. I am not sure how this idea got so popular considering there is almost zero actual evidence for the conclusion, and it has been repeatedly dismissed as incorrect by pretty much everyone involved.
Second, QtMultimedia is a Qt project, while Phonon is primarily a KDE project although it is incorporated into Qt. They were developed and still are developed by different groups with different goals and different priorities.
Third, Phonon needs to be supported at least for the lifetime of KDE 4. There is a backwards-compatibility guarantee.
Finally, they are aimed at different roles, with phonon intended to provide a simple and easy-to-use backend-independent wrapper for media players while QtMultimedia designed for two-way media support for smartphones.
Since QtMultimedia was developed by Nokia for the now-defunct Qt smartphone market and phonon was developed by KDE for the desktop market, if anything QtMultimedia is the one that is going to get the axe.
There is already a standards body for dekstop stuff, freedesktop.org. The problem is that it is really asymetrical. KDE tends to be quick to implement freedesktop.org standards originating from Gnome, and when they implement a system they use freedesktop.org standards where ever possible.
On the other hand Gnome tends to be extremely resistant to implementing freedesktop.org standards originating from KDE. When they need something for which a freedesktop.org standard originating from KDE already exists they usually ignore the standard and implements their own, incompatible system.
While not a freedesktop.org standard, this is a good example of the problems. KDE adopts a Gnome technology (zeitgeist) with no complaints in order to encourage cross-desktop compatibility. However, under a similar situation Gnome develops its own entirely new system from scratch (tracker) instead of using the long-existing equivalent KDE system (nepomuk and strigi), hampering cross-desktop compatibility.