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Microsoft and Cisco Systems said they will offer a jointly created specification for directory services to a standards body by the end of the year. The spec is currently being reviewed by an ad hoc committee of third parties. It is intended to offer developers a platform to write applications that take advantage of network-based services. The move is part of Microsoft's strategy to offer Active Directory in the next version of Windows NT Server. The companies said they will choose a standards organization at a December meeting. A final spec will be available in the first quarter of next year.