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VBA fan club grows

Microsoft signs up nearly 40 software vendors to license the latest version of its Visual Basic for Applications scripting language.

Microsoft (MSFT) has signed up nearly 40 software vendors (see table) to license the latest version of its Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripting language.

The software vendors have committed to incorporate the VBA version 5.0 scripting language in more than 100 products for use in industries ranging from accounting and financial management to manufacturing processes. The first three or four products will hit the market as early as January, according to Robbie Wright, Microsoft's VBA business manager.

The software giant hopes the licensing effort will assure widespread usage of its scripting language and make its server software more popular with developers. The next generation version 5.0 will be released later this year and be used in the new version of Microsoft Office 97 applications, due December 4.

"We were looking for companies with a strong, strategic commitment to VBA and ActiveX," according to Wright. "We think this [move] will also grow the number of Visual Basic developers."

Microsoft will run joint marketing campaigns starting early next year and has promised the companies--ranging from large enterprises to start-ups with little name recognition--access to future versions of the language and technical assistance in return for undisclosed licensing fees. The company has invited more than a dozen licensees to join them at Comdex next week to demonstrate upcoming products, he said.

Wright said hundreds more companies continue to evaluate the scripting language and may join the initiative next year. The company has named two VBA clone makers, Mystic River Software and Summit Software, as sales agents for the licenses.

New licensees for Visual Basic for Applications
- Great Plains Software

Banking Management
- Baker Hill

Computer Automated Design
- Intergraph Software Solutions

Development Tools
- Antares Alliance Group
- Cap Volmac
- Cognos
- DataMirror
- Information Builders
- Innovus
- Interpersonal Computing
- StarBase
- Texas Instruments Software
- vImpact

Document Management
- Documentum

Electronic Commerce
- The EC Company

Financial Services
- Onpoint Technologies

Help Desk/Sales Automation
- Siebel Systems
- The Vantive

Industrial Automation
- Dynapro Systems
- Nematron
- OSI Software
- Siemens Energy and Automation
- TA Engineering Company

Information Management
- Seagate Software

Internet and Web Applications and Tools
- HAHT Software

Modeling Tools
- LogicWorks
- Popkin Software and Systems
- Rational Software

Network Administration
- McAfee Associates
- Symantec

Semiconductor Testing and Programming
- B&C Microsystems

- Systems Modeling Technical Drawing
- Intergraph Software Solutions

Terminal Emulation
- Hummingbird Communications