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Microsoft's Web-Services Products A Success--Execs Think

Execs admit they can't quantify how many customers are implementing Web-services products the company is building a strategy around.

Microsoft's customers seem to be ramping up to implement and use Web services, but just how many are actually doing it? And how fast? Microsoft officials admit they're not sure.

As Microsoft introduces products--such as last week's launch of Windows Server 2003 and VisualStudio.Net 2003--with tools and middleware that make it easier to roll out Web services, one assumes that more companies are using those capabilities to do just that. But Microsoft execs say there's no system in place to track the adoption rate among customers. "We can talk anecdotally about customers and adoption patterns," says Neil Charney, Microsoft's director of .Net and platform strategy. "How many of them have turned on that capability? We don't know."

Charney points to advances such as Microsoft's announcement Monday of an upgraded telematics platform for automobiles as evidence of forward momentum. Microsoft's Windows Automotive 4.2 platform combines Web-services specifications, via the .Net Compact Framework, with the wireless Bluetooth standard to support new kinds of information services.

"The foundation has started to be laid down for Web-services infrastructure," Charney says, "and now you're seeing the end points."

Having launched a Web-services strategy in June 2000 under its .Net brand name, Microsoft in recent months has scaled back use of the .Net moniker in new products. That's not, however, an indication that Web services are any less central to the company's approach to distributed computing, Charney says, adding that .Net "still remains our Web-services and XML strategy across everything we're doing."

Other technology vendors can certify products as being compliant with Microsoft's Web-services implementation by qualifying for a .Net Connected logo. More than 100 apps have been certified in the six months since that program was introduced.

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