Microsoft.NET is Microsoft's stunning new technology. Note the .NET. That's Microsoft Innovation at work, it is.

What is it, you ask? Microsoft.NET is, basically, pay-per-view software. You suck whatever it is you want to use (MSN, Visual Studio, or Microsoft Office, for instance) straight off a microsoft server. You can also connect to a local server, if you're into that sort of thing. Bet that costs extra, eh? Neh. (or, as my dad puts it, "Only pennies a day!")

To do all the advanced GUI goodness, it uses proprietary standards, because HTML isn't too great at GUIs. Sure, HTML is ok, but it just can't handle Microsoft GUIs, which are not sparse. Of course, I bet that it just so happens that IE is the only product which will support this.

Even if it doesn't, it doesn't matter, because of what microsoft.NET means for Microsoft.

You see, microsoft.NET frees Microsoft from their Operating System Division. This has tremendous consequences for, say, the DOJ, because it means that the success of the Microsoft Applications Corporation will be independent of the Operating System Division. In other words, the microsoft division is moot, because Microsoft is becoming OS-independent (for the client-side stuff).

This is what the Halloween Documents were referring to. This is a huge step in making protocols proprietary, and preventing just anyone from writing clients. Y'see, with microsoft.NET, they are taking open protocols and wrapping them so that they are part of a closed protocol.

"Software as a service ... delivered over the Internet"

Microsoft .NET is about "web services."

Microsoft views the current Internet model as equivalent to a 1960s mainframe model of computing. The Web presents a centralized data model, in which data is pulled from one database or data center, and presented in a read-only dumb terminal fashion to the end user, who cannot edit it or annotate it. The many benefits of the PC revolution, they say, have been lost on the Internet.

Web services, they say, will bring power back to the user. End users will have full control over their content, with integrated, collaborative services that share data and work together through a common interface API. All securely, of course.

.NET is to be a component based solution. Using technology descended from COM, developers create services that are hosted on the server side. In a "loosely-coupled" model, these services can discover each other via UDDI and then interact using protocols based on SOAP. Services can live on different servers, or totally different web sites. Microsoft contrasts this model to the tightly coupled J2EE model of n-tier web development, where all of the tiers must be hosted on the same web site.

In 2001, Microsoft reached an agreement with eBay to implement a set of .NET services for the famous e-tailer.

Another component of the .NET vision is integrating multiple devices. Microsoft envisions a world where palmtop and mobile devices use .NET as the data repository which they share and synch up from as needed.

In 2002, Sun Microsystems announced the SunOne program to counter .NET.

See also .NET. For Microsoft's official story, see

Microsoft .NET was conceived long before Web Services existed and is intended to achieve a far greater revolution than merely pay-per-view software.

Microsoft .NET is principally about 3 things.
1. A vision to mobilise and motivate the troops.

2. A new technology to create a discontinuity, define a "before" and "after", avoid the need for backward compatibility (and incidentally sell upgrades), give Microsoft a chance to dominate the Internet.

3. A growing set of specific pieces of software, showing staff, developers and the public what can be achieved (and incidentally creating new revenue streams).

They did it 10 years ago with Windows; they hope to do it again. The similarity to Java is no coincidence, in the same way that Windows was adapted from the MacIntosh. In almost every conceivable technical detail .NET is better than Java, as you would expect. Smart people learn.

The incorporation of XML, relationship to Web Services and dalliance with software rental are largely coincidental, things that happened in the market place and just got shoehorned into .NET as convenient.

Just remember one thing: all Microsoft ever wants to do is sell more Windows.

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