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XML Becoming New Industry Battleground

As a developer, you could write for generic Java so your application is available to all platforms, or you could use the switch in Microsoft Corp.'s Visual J++ to write Windows-specific Java, making Java perform better on Windows, but not at all on any other platform. Now the software giant has turned the same attention to XML, a standard in the industry, and the rest of the industry doesn't like it.

Microsoft's framework for XML, BizTalk, has taken off with software vendors Baan Co. (www.baan.com), SAP AG (www.sap.com), PeopleSoft Inc. (www.peoplesoft.com), Ariba Technologies Inc. (www.ariba.com) and others. The company even came out with a Web site, BizTalk.Org, to be an online reference for BizTalk Framework specifications, schemas, reference materials, tools, sample applications and a community newsgroup.

To a group such as The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS, www.oasis-open.org), Microsoft has gone too far. The group has shot back with XML.org, a repository for XML schemas and implementation specifications. OASIS is backed by more than 20 members including IBM Corp., Oracle Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Novell Inc. And with that, XML has become the next developer fighting ground in a war of billion dollar silicon giants.

"What is at stake here is the way that businesses will move data and documents between systems like PeopleSoft and SAP, as well as between various kinds of form formats such as [those that] exist in the healthcare industry," explains a report from Zona Research Inc. (www.zonaresearch.com). "If standard schemas and implementations exist for XML servers, each of these vertical industries will benefit tremendously over the coming years."

The Zona report continues that vertical industry leaders need to force Microsoft and IBM into going along with standards. The report explains that Microsoft could benefit from those standards being compliant with BizTalk. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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