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Software AG extends COM deal

Hoping to dismiss rumors of a split, Software AG says it is tightening ties with Microsoft for porting component technology to Unix and other platforms.

Hoping to dismiss rumors of a split, Software AG said today that it is tightening its relationship with Microsoft for porting component technology to Unix and other operating systems.

The company said it will continue its work to port Microsoft's COM (component object model) technology to Unix and mainframe operating systems, and said new versions of the software are slated for delivery this year.

Software AG, a mainframe and Unix systems company, was hand picked by Microsoft several years ago to perform the porting of COM technologies to Unix and legacy systems. COM initially worked only with Microsoft's Windows operating systems. To make it truly usable in large corporations--and competitive with rival CORBA (common object request broker architecture) implementations--the software also needs to work with new and existing Unix and mainframe systems.

COM is Microsoft's technology for allowing software components to communicate across networks without regard for programming languages or location.

Last month, Microsoft said it would take a large part of the porting work in-house, which made the Software AG deal appear redundant. The move was seen as a signal that the company is now taking its battle against CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) backers and Java proponents more seriously.

Speaking at a press conference following Microsoft's announcement last month, Joe Maloney, a product manager at the company, said "the Software AG relationship is strong, and they will be heavily involved in future projects."

Today's announcement seems intended to affirm the relationship and to stake out Software AG's territory on COM porting.

Software AG said it has completed a 64-bit implementation of COM for Digital Unix which is now shipping as part of Software AG's EntireX, a COM-based object broker package.

Also, Software AG and Microsoft have agreed to jointly develop versions of COM for HP-UX 11.0 and AIX 5.x. COM will be available on those operating systems for user testing in the third quarter, according to Software AG.