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'
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
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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