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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Microsoft Corp's C Sharp programming language and the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) has been passed to the International Standards Organization (ISO) for ratification.

C Sharp and CLI were handed over by the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA), which ratified the technologies in December 2001. C Sharp follows Microsoft's C++, already an ISO standard.

The move is partly designed to help improve Microsoft's public image, by opening a channel for dialogue about these products with customers, the company said.

However, the move also raises quesitons over the motives for Microsoft's original decision to submit C Sharp and CLI to ECMA. ISO is regared as having greater recognition, being accepted by a large number of governments, while ECMA has a relatively low profile.

C Sharp and CLI were passed to an ISO subcommittee through a fast-track acceptance process shared between ISO and ECMA.

Microsoft .NET Framework group product manager John Montgomery said by working with the ISO, Microsoft is "seen to be behaving without reproach" while also acting without reproach.

"We have an image problem right now," a hesitant Montgomery told ComputerWire. "It's more about being open and honest with customers. Being in a standards body guarantees that."

"Standards bodies ensure the pace of change is measured," he said, adding that the ISO would help guarantee a "mature and reasonable" development path avoiding any sudden "left and right turns".

Microsoft follows in the footsteps of Santa Clara, California-based rival Sun Microsystems Inc, which aborted its attempt to have Java ratified by ECMA and the ISO in 1999.

Commenting on Sun's decision to pull out of the ISO process, a company spokesperson said the organization lacked the financial muscle to enforce compliance with any standard.

Sun said submission of C Sharp and CLI to ISO would not promote innovation as Microsoft retains control of the underlying Windows platform.

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