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All in the Microsoft Alliance

All in the Microsoft Alliance

Barcelona – The Spanish Microsoft TechEd IT Forum has baptized the new Redmond credo: “interoperability”. In fact, the Interoperability Vendor Alliance was unveiled last Tuesday. A sort of industrial lobby that will collaborate with Microsoft to improve compatibility between hardware and software products. Members include virtually the international IT elite: Advanced Micro Devices, BEA Systems, Business Objects, CA, NEC, Novell, Siemens Enterprise Communications, Software AG, Sun Microsystems, and more.

According to experts, Microsoft’s policy on proprietary technologies is evolving. If once the commitment to integration was considered marginal, now, thanks to the success of alternative platforms, the need to invest in interoperability is evident. A need that was first claimed by the customers themselves, in serious difficulty in trying to make Windows coexist with business applications developed for other systems. Bill Gates, last February, not surprisingly, had started talking about “interoperable by design” solutions, that is the possibility of making Microsoft products coexist with others through XML technology.

“Interoperability Vendor Alliance” will therefore try to identify and then publish online the “best practices” that can facilitate the integration between the products of the various brands involved. Vendors will collaborate directly with customers so that interoperability priorities can be established regarding system management, virtualization, development tools, data integration, storage management, and more.

In addition, the creation of technical-informative materials and case studies related to customer experiences is envisaged. In short, Microsoft just over five months after the birth of the Interoperability Customer Executive Council – which will meet twice a year to discuss connectivity, application integration and data exchange problems – relaunches with another wide-ranging initiative which closely involves vendors and customers as never before. If we consider the recent agreement with Novell for Suse Linux, the picture appears to be complete.

The issue of interoperability, however, is not just a “problem” for Microsoft. The market is now so fragmented, with constantly evolving power relations, that the vendors themselves seem to underline this need for normalization.

“Interoperability is not just a matter of standards,” said Jason Matusow, senior director of Microsoft’s Intellectual Property and Interoperability Department: “Achieving a standard is just one of many steps towards achieving full interoperability. The alliance between vendors and consumers is fundamental “.

Dario d’Elia