Microsoft proposes Net software specification
By Mike Ricciuti
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
November 30, 1999, 8:45 a.m. PT
Microsoft today submitted a draft of a proposed Internet communications
specification to a key standards body.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant published and submitted version 1.0
of the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) specification to the Internet
Engineering Task Force (IETF) as an Internet draft.
SOAP, based on the increasingly popular Web standard for data exchange
called the Extensible Markup Language (XML), will let business software
programs communicate over the Internet, regardless of the programming model
on which they are based. Microsoft is attempting to gain an advantage over
competitors, including Sun Microsystems, IBM and others, by establishing
SOAP as an Internet standard and incorporating it into its server-based
In many ways, SOAP, and Microsoft's plans to establish it as a standard,
represent a reversal of Microsoft's past attempts to steer the software
development business. The company many times has been accused of attempting
to control the market with Windows, a de facto proprietary standard. With
SOAP, Microsoft is proposing an open standard that would nullify a
competitor's proprietary advantage.
SOAP, which doesn't require any Microsoft software, is a network protocol
that lets software objects developed using different languages communicate
with each other. Microsoft sees it as effectively leveling the playing field
between Windows and development strategies based on Java. Instead of being
forced to choose one model, companies will be free to select whichever is
best suited to solving the problem at hand, Microsoft reasons.
Microsoft is hoping that greater compatibility between Windows-based
software and Java and Unix-based systems could lead to greater adoption of
Windows 2000, the company's forthcoming operating system.
Competitors fear that SOAP, in effect, could be bad news for Sun, IBM,
Oracle and other Java backers since it could nullify the effectiveness of
proprietary "lock-in" marketing strategies.