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Weaving the Future: Microsoft's .NET Initiative

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Management Summary Microsoft's latest Internet platform strategy, named .NET, represents its vision for the future of the Internet, based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). .NET also represents Microsoft's view of the next-generation Internet as consisting of services, which are accessed by devices that interact with services and content. In this respect, .NET is similar to the component concept that Microsoft and others championed in the 1990s. .NET is also an end-to-end strategy that encompasses all aspects of Microsoft's business, including: o Platforms and tools o Consumer and small-business services from Microsoft Network (MSN) and bCentral o Knowledge worker applications -- i.e., Office and next-generation Digital Dashboard technology based on a new compound information architecture Microsoft's software-as-a-service vision is different from the first generation of the application service provider model as it has typically been implemented -- .NET is componentized, rather than based on monolithic, hosted applications. Considerable confusion surrounds .NET, largely due to Microsoft's rather indiscriminate use of the term. It is important, therefore, that when enterprise managers consider .NET, they first consider all the possible meanings of this term and then answer questions in the appropriate context. .NET is a strategic shift to software-as-a-service, but it is also a set of programming models -- i.e., a platform. This Strategic Analysis Report addresses how .NET will affect Microsoft's technology, especially its platforms and the tools used to create them. It also examines .NET's strategic implications for the possible breakup of Microsoft by the U.S. Justice Department. The following Strategic Planning Assumptions are presented in this report: o Through 2003, the primary form of Web services will be component invocation and "information push" for more than 75 percent of services delivered...


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