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Microsoft today threw in its lot with the OpenAjax Alliance to push interoperability in Web 2.0.

The group now counts more than 70 members, up from 15 in February 2006.

In a statement, Microsoft's Kevin Smith - arguably owner of the most challenging job title in IT as core web platform and tools to UX web/client platform and tools group product manager - said the company will collaborate with other industry leaders to ensure a "high degree" of interoperability in AJAX-style development.

"Microsoft is continuing its commitment to empower web developers with technology that works cross browser and cross platform," Smith said.

OpenAjax Alliance membership puts Microsoft back into bed with IBM, also an alliance co-founder. IBM joined with Microsoft to flesh out the WS* family of web services specifications underpinning many of today's SOA and Web 2.0 architectures. Microsoft and IBM also teamed up, with others, to form the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization in 2002, apparently to wrong foot Sun Microsystems on web services standards and interoperability.

OpenAjax Alliance does not claim to be a standards-setting body, but is pushing a set of requirements for AJAX products and technologies to ensure interoperability under the OpenAjax Conformance.

Microsoft's work in web development and rich development is generally well respected among web developers, largely thanks to cross-language support in .NET. However, Microsoft is hitting some problems because its architecture requires deployment on Windows servers, rather than using Linux or JavaScript. Linux and JavaScript are important pieces in the Web 2.0 puzzle because of the openness and flexibility they afford developers in both architecture and deployment. ®

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