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VNU Net: IBM cleans up as Microsoft's Soap slips

Jun 13, 2000, 00:54 (4 Talkback[s])

By Barry de la Rosa, VNU Net

IBM has stolen a march on Microsoft by releasing to the open source community its version of a cross-platform XML technology which Microsoft is banking on.

Microsoft had been expected to release its Soap (simple object access protocol) developer's kit at the launch of its Next Generation Windows Services last week, but postponed due to the demands of its antitrust trial.

Soap allows XML data to be sent using standard web (HTTP) data packets, and is mooted as a replacement for low-level message-passing protocols, such as Microsoft's remote procedure call (RPC) used among Com objects.

"Microsoft invented Soap to provide an easier means for the Com platform to interoperate with other, non-Com platforms," said Gary Barnett, director of research at Ovum. "At first sight, Microsoft could have been accused of following its usual 'embrace and extend' strategy."

IBM had criticised the first implementation for being too favourable to Microsoft products. Microsoft relented, and IBM then supported the spec, now part of the World Wide Web Consortium's standards process.

The primary benefactor will initially be the Apache XML Project, which is developing a number of XML projects including XML parsers, stylesheet processors, XML-based web publishing, XSL formatting objects, and rapid development of dynamic server pages.

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