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7/13/2004
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Microsoft Adding RFID Support To Windows Server Software

Windows may be next as expanding RFID strategy encompasses more of the company's products.

Microsoft plans to add support for radio-frequency identification directly to its server software and potentially to the Windows operating system, a company executive disclosed Monday.

Work is under way now to add RFID support to BizTalk Server, the company's XML-based integration server, Paul Flessner, senior VP of Microsoft's server platform division, said Monday in an interview with InformationWeek at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.

Flessner characterized BizTalk Server's role as providing "high-level integration" between an RFID reader and enterprise applications such as those sold by Microsoft's Business Solutions division or other business software companies. RFID is an emerging technology that uses small chips that emit radio signals to track products across supply chains.

Microsoft is evaluating whether to add RFID capabilities directly to Windows, Flessner says. Within the operating system, those capabilities might be similar in concept to a device driver, the piece of code that lets a printer or other device work within the Windows environment. "The platform will be RFID enabled," Flessner says.

The work within Microsoft's server software group is part of a broadening strategy to develop RFID capabilities across the company's product lines. Microsoft Business Solutions has outlined plans to upgrade its application suites to support RFID over the next two years.

In April, Microsoft disclosed formation of an RFID Council that originally included seven partner companies: Accenture, GlobeRanger, HighJump Software, Intermec Technologies, Manhattan Associates, and Provia Software. The group, which is defining RFID requirements for their products, now has roughly 30 participating companies.

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