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Microsoft eyes app server market

The firm will package Transaction Server, Message Queue Server, and Internet Information Server, along with NT 5.0 and COM+, as an application server.

Microsoft is out to stake its claim in the application server market.

The company will position its Transaction Server, Message Queue Server, and Internet Information Server, along with Windows NT 5.0 and COM+, as a tightly coupled application server, next month at its Professional Developer's Conference in Denver, said Vic Gundotra, director of platform marketing at Microsoft.

Application server software is one of the fastest growing new product categories, according to analysts. More than 30 companies now offer some form of server software under the application server label, according to Forrester Research.

Gundotra also said COM+ and Message Queue Server will be merged into Windows NT 5.0 and will ship with the revamped operating system, now expected to debut sometime next year.

COM+ includes all of the company's core component technologies, and is beginning to subsume many related technologies, such as transaction processing. The first beta-level COM+ technologies are included with the latest beta release of Microsoft's Windows NT Server 5.0.

Gundotra insisted that the decision to formally refer to the collection of Microsoft technologies as an application server is just a marketing move that reflects a changing landscape for developers. He said Microsoft has been offering the underlying technology for some time.

"We're not repositioning NT 5.0--these technologies have been there. It's not like we started yesterday," he said.

Also at the Professional Developer's Conference, company chairman Bill Gates will discuss Microsoft's Active Directory technology, yet another software component to be included with Windows NT 5.0, and how it can cut businesses' total cost of ownership, according to Gundotra.