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Microsoft Unveils E-Business Game Plan

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Microsoft officials announced
Tuesday the first phase of their Web services suite
for the e-business, dubbed project Jupiter, scheduled
for release late next year.

Jupiter, according to one Microsoft official, was
created to address the problems created by legacy and
proprietary e-business applications found throughout
the enterprise, which the official called “overly

Instead, business customers incorporating Jupiter into
their networks will use Microsoft’s proprietary
software for e-business front-office and back-office
support, with .Net and Office integration environments
available for developers and employees.

Phase I of the Jupiter release centers around in-house
development, including tools for automation processes,
workflow analysis, developer integration and Business
Process Execution Language for Web services (BPEL4WS).

Microsoft was unavailable for comment on its
extensible markup language (XML) support in a
standardized Web services arena. The Redmond, Wash.,
software giant has its own proprietary XML-based
protocol for Web services communications: simple
object access protocol (SOAP).

The protocol was developed despite widespread industry
support for another Web services protocol —
extensible business XML (ebXML), developed by
Organization for the Advancement of Structured
Information Standards (OASIS) — created by Micosoft
rivals Sun Microsystems and IBM
. Only recently was SOAP accepted
into the ebXML Messaging Specification fold, as an
attachment technology, so that companies using
different protocols could communicate.

Jupiter phase II (expected to launch in 2004) brings
e-business productivity tools to the forefront, with
Web site analytics, customer personalization options,
e-commerce services and content management.

In its release Tuesday, officials said companies
throughout the world are moving away from stand-alone
e-business applications and moving towards integrated
packages that incorporate every level of the business,
from the developers to the marketing specialist to
human resources personnel and executive vice

“In unifying our best-of-breed applications, we are
both simplifying the complexity of our customers’
infrastructure and providing them with a
comprehensive, standards- based solution to connect,
analyze and react to the information, people and
processes that make up the extended enterprise,” said
David Kiker, Microsoft general manager of e-business
servers, at a trade show Tuesday.

Officials said they are still working out pricing and
licensing plans for its Jupiter services.

Assuming Microsoft is modeling its Jupiter suite
around SOAP, the product should boost interest in Web
services for bricks-and-clicks corporations looking
for an all-in-one Web application for e-business.
According to an InfoWorld report, Gartner
analysts gave SOAP, as a standard, a “strong positive”
rating — the highest among competing protocols.

The “thumbs up” critique comes mainly, said Larry
Perlstein, because of broad vendor support and its
relative ease of use compared to the others.

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