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Microsoft Signs on With Avinon

Microsoft Corp. elevated its .NET Web services initiative from an immature infrastructural technology to a solutions offering in a few vertical markets on Wednesday with a new partnership.

Microsoft and Avinon Inc. announced a partnership on Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.

Avinon is a two-year-old startup that creates business solutions based on Web services technologies. Leading up to the partnership announcement, the company had been moving from an agnostic approach to Web services to a full embrace of Microsoft's .NET approach.

Since March 2001, Avinon has offered the Avinon NetScenario Platform, which consists of a business server called the NetScenario Business Server and a development toolkit called the NetScenario Studio.

Avinon recommends that the software be used to convert existing business processes into Web-facing services, such as online quote services for insurance agents or product warranty creation and distribution systems for consumer companies with hundreds or thousands of products and dozens of retail partners.

When Avinon launched its platform in March 2001, the company said it was taking advantage of Web services standards such as XML, HTTP, SOAP, UDDI and WDSL and gave equal weight to several vendors' strategies, including Microsoft .NET, IBM WebSphere, HP Netaction, Oracle Dynamic Services and Sun ONE.

Over the course of the year, however, Avinon picked up a former Microsoft executive on its board of directors and released a 1.2 version of its platform with a much more Microsoft-centric focus.

That server, released in October, built in support for BizTalk Server, Microsoft's XML based business integration server software, and SharePoint Portal Server. Version 1.2 also primed NetScenario Studio to work with Visual Studio .NET, the Web services-focused version of Microsoft's flagship software development kit.

Microsoft and Avinon plan to begin their formal collaboration by building solutions for the financial services and manufacturing vertical markets.

The multi-year agreement also calls for marketing assistance from Microsoft's .NET Technology Evangelist team, teamwork on sales and marketing and additional solutions for other vertical markets and presumably horizontal markets.

The agreement includes the establishment of a joint engineering lab at Microsoft's Redmond campus.

About the Author

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

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