"A phone call from a Microsoft lawyer earlier this month
provided some more signposts as to how Microsoft intends to
implement/embrace 'open' industry standards. Jason Bishop,
who'd been involved in development of SOAP (Simple Object Access
Protocol) in his previous job as a contractor at Microsoft, was due
to give a talk to the Seattle area Java-XML SIG, but immediately
prior to his presentation he took the call, and was reminded that
he was still covered by NDA."
"In an email to SIG members after the meeting SIG chair Dennis
Sosnoski said that Bishop had to "severely edit his presentation at
the last minute," following the lawyer's call, and expressed some
bafflement: " I was puzzled to hear about this, since I couldn't
imagine (1) what he'd have been talking about that would be
proprietary or (2) why the most innovative legal staff in the
industry would be so concerned to make sure he didn't spill
anything. I was even more surprised when several Microsoft SOAP
people, apparently including a lawyer, then showed up at our
meeting (none of them having any interest whatsoever in Java, as
far as I could tell). Jason was unable to tell me anything, of
course, but the amount of concern from M$ got my interest."
"Sosnoski has his own theories about the matter, and in the wake
of Microsoft's battle with Slashdot over the Kerberos spec, they're
pretty plausible. "My bet," he says, "is that SOAP is actually the
core of NGWS [Next Generation Windows Services]. This would make
sense - SOAP is basically Visual Basic calls wrapped in XML, and
it's been well understood at Microsoft for some time that to get
Bill Gates behind a project it just takes some connection with his
crowning technical achievement (Basic, that is)."
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