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Microsoft's Ballmer touts XML Web standard

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that the spread of the XML software standard will constitute the "next revolution" in personal computing.

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Ballmer talks up XML, .Net
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft
SAN JOSE, Calif.--Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Monday that the spread of the XML software standard will constitute the "next revolution" in personal computing.

Speaking before a gathering of scientists and technical professionals, Ballmer said the acceptance of XML (Extensible Markup Language) as the new "lingua franca" of cyberspace would effectively clear away lingering barriers blocking companies from exchanging information over the Internet.

"This will be a much bigger deal" than Java, Ballmer said. He added that the adoption of a common approach embodied by XML will provide a foundation "so that everyone's work can leverage and build upon" the work of others.

"With the XML revolution in full swing," he said "software has never been more important."

Ballmer's two-fisted stump speech was not surprising, given that XML is the linchpin of the Microsoft.Net strategy for software-as-a-service.

"The whole gist of XML relates to the way that things (on the Internet) can talk together," Ballmer said.

In a related vein, Ballmer spoke of the benefits of SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) in this next phase of the development of the Internet. SOAP, which is essentially a way to deliver XML payloads around the Internet, was co-developed by Microsoft in association with IBM and UserLand Software and has since been widely adopted by many leading developers.

Ballmer, who was speaking at the quadrennial meeting here of the Association for Computing Machinery, also discussed some technologies still under development by Microsoft's research labs. He said Microsoft now employs more than 600 people in four research branches around the globe.

Ballmer avoided any mention of the company's anti-trust case. The U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., is soon expected to issue a decision on the breakup order entered against the software giant last year by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.