Summit: Microsoft Setting Pace in Web Services Space

Report says the .NET Initiative leads

Information Technology analyst firm Summit Strategies has released a new report that says Microsoft Corp. is leading the competition in the Web services space with its .NET initiative. By comparison, Summit says IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and other Java-centric vendors are trailing the Redmond, Wash.-based computing giant for mindshare in the community.

According to Summit’s report, titled “Microsoft Leads Industry Charge to Drive Web-Services Creation”, Microsoft took a big step toward winning the developer buy-in it needs to make .NET a success at its Profession Developer Conference in October. At PDC, Microsoft distributed a release candidate of its Visual Studio .NET development environment, which is considered by many the lynchpin of the company’s .NET plan, to more than 7,000 developers. Since, Microsoft says more than 2.5 million developers have done beta-testing on Visual Studio .NET.

In an earlier report, Summit predicted, “[.NET] will crash and burn in short order if it can’t attract broad support within the development community.” With the progress Microsoft has made so far on this front, Summit feels confident .NET is in solid position among the developer space.

While Summit believes both .NET and Java have long-term futures in the standards-based computing arena, it gives Microsoft the edge in early competition in this space because it has been more direct in its approach. Dwight Davis, vice president for Summit, says in his report, “Although [Microsoft] wasn’t the first to articulate a vision of Internet-based software services, it has become the most aggressive vendor in attempting to bring that vision to reality.”

Summit feels 2002 will be an extremely busy year for the Web services community, as developers look to build standards-based solutions not only for .NET, but in Java environments as well. “Systems and software vendors will increasingly attempt to differentiate themselves based on the scope of their support for Web services both at the development tools level and at a platform deployment level,” says Davis.

However, Davis says there are still many hurdles to overcome before Web services achieve widespread adoption. The most prominent obstacle, says Davis, is whether Web services will actually deliver on their core promise of interoperability. He says, pricing and business models for selling Web services also need to be figured out before the concept can really influence the IT landscape.

Earlier this week, IBM released two new beta offerings on its alphaWorks site for developers that address some of the business considerations of deploying Web services. The solutions – Web Services Hosting Toolkit and Web Services Gateway -- address billing, metering, provisioning, as well as security issues, related to deploying Web services. These latest releases by IBM seem to signal that the leading vendors competing in the Web services space are beginning to recognize some of the peripheral issues associated with Web services.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.