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The Register: MS opens NexGen Windows Megaservices kimono

May 25, 2000, 15:14 (6 Talkback[s])

"You'll have back-end to back-end data flows, delivered in XML, that basically look like "composite" web pages from a variety of sources. These might be B2B exchanges, or quickly lashed-up corporate portals or personalised home pages... but all delivered to a Microsoft "Digital Dashboard," which might be IE or Outlook, depending on how fat you want your client. And any or all of these might go off and trigger a string of transactions. Finally, to give the framework some momentum, come the seed content deals. We'll be surprised if Microsoft hasn't arranged some showpiece Fortune 500 names to pony up, so that Expedia and WebTV aren't left alone shivering on the stage."

"How does this play? Very nicely actually. It allows Microsoft to claim the high ground from warring standards vendors - much like it did with the Unix wars - only this time it's protocols, not APIs - and sell the ease of use and ease of integration pitches in one go. Right now, content aggregation means striking a financial deal (you shake hands and agree to allow each other access to the dirty, physical back end stuff), or a technical deal, or crude screen-scraping. That's where Microsoft's SOAP and xml investment pays off."

"But it also plays particularly well with the kind of technologically illiterate suits who wield the chequebooks in corporate IT shops, and who have always hated scruffy hacker types, with their talk of incompatible protocols. With shades of its ERP alliances, Microsoft is again promising to package the essentially unpackageable. We think they're misguided, but we know there's an boardroom full of people willing to be misled."

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