The software giant's--a hot topic a few years ago but overshadowed by other Microsoft efforts lately--was declared alive and well during a panel at the Comdex trade show.
While .Net was initially understood as a strategy for delivering software functionality as a Web-based service, it actually represents several major changes in direction for Microsoft, said John Montgomery, a group product manager for the software giant.
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"We've really done two things at once with this term .Net," he said, saying the term refers to a new model forand a commitment to working with open standards to ensure interoperability between disparate computing systems. "Fundamentally, we're focused on making Windows a better place to build and deploy applications," he said.
Comdex panelists mostly focused on the interoperability aspect of .Net, giving Microsoft mixed grades for getting the standards gospel. Laura DiDio, an analyst for research firm Yankee Group, said the software maker has a genuine zeal for standards such as(XML).
"Since Bill Gates went back to being the chief scientist...Microsoft is very focused on a coherent message," she said. "That is XML everywhere and being much more open in terms of schemas and API's (application programming interfaces). It's real, it's happening, and Microsoft is making great strides."
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Stein added that although building software to open standards is good, the open-source development model is a bigger issue for Microsoft. "Open source really drives the commoditization of software," he said. "People are building more and more on top of these free technologies. People who try to sell frameworks are going to have a hard time doing that."