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Microsoft takes aim at Java with VBA

Microsoft will license its Visual Basic for Applications to third-party developers.

Microsoft announced today that it will for the first time license its Visual Basic for Applications macro language to third-party developers in a move aimed at countering the popularity of Sun's Java.

Microsoft is initially licensing version 5.0 of the VBA language engine to six key application developers, including Adobe, Autodesk, Micrografx, NetManage, Rockwell Software, Sagent Technology, SAP, and Visio. All six vendors today announced plans to integrate VBA into future applications.

The incorporation of VBA into third-party applications will ease customization and let users link shrink-wrapped applications, or components of them, to custom-developed client-server and intranet applications. VBA 5.0, which will be included in the next versions of Microsoft Office and Visual Basic, includes support for ActiveX, Microsoft's Java-like cross-platform technology.

Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported today that Microsoft is set to disclose that it is developing a 64-bit version of Windows NT with Digital Equipment to run on Digital's Alpha processors.

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