"Microsoft .NET", also known as "dotnet", is a new development platform created by Microsoft for their operating systems.
Among the novelties offered by the platform is the Common Library Runtime environment. This runtime environment offers Object-Oriented classes for all Microsoft APIs in a homogeneous environment. There are at least 17 programming languages that will be able to create applications that will run on this platform, including Visual Basic, C#, C++, Eiffel, Cobol... Of course, COM is no longer needed for applications to interoperate within this environment. Other interesting things are that the runtime's API supports remote procedure calls via SOAP over XML and uses JIT compiling and a garbage collector.