Inside AppCenter – Windows becomes the Internet platform

It's a cunning variation on what MS feared Netscape might do to it

Last week's web applications development announcements from Microsoft contain little that is really new, and it seems to be a move to snatch some media attention from announcements by HP and other vendors. The focus was on what Microsoft is calling an AppCenter Server, described as a component of Windows DNA 2000. The announcement was cobbled-together effort presented as an architecture based on "existing technologies and tools". The announcements need careful parsing and more than a cursory knowledge of Microsoft-speak to get at any truth. Microsoft is trying to do what it said it feared Netscape would do, according to its evidence in the Washington antitrust case: create an Internet platform for applications, but using Windows rather than a browser. Microsoft says it is creating a new architecture to build "universally programmable building blocks," and the sub-text is maybe more sophisticated than usual. Theoretically it's open to non-Microsoft products, but it's a raging certainty that MS is banking on its own products being dominant. The Microsoft executive leading the development is Charles Fitzgerald, a hard-liner. He claims the Web will evolve from hyperlinked text and graphics to "a new generation of web services .... capable of doing tasks that are almost unimaginable today". There's a strong whiff that this implies a good deal of buying-in of expertise, and for many developers, their number-one objective is to be bought by Microsoft, since many do not have the wherewithal to kick an IPO into touch. It emerged from the announcements that Microsoft has possibly found a crafty way to persuade e-commerce traders to go with Microsoft: by creating an extranet of potential supplier intranets, it would be possible for an enterprise to look for the best deal when purchasing - if there were a common format. This will of course be XML. ® Next part: HREF="">How pure is IE5's XML? Analysis - Inside AppCenter Windows becomes the Internet platform How pure is IE5's XML? The march away from COM

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