In a bid to expand its .Net initiative, Microsoft has launched two new tools that it hopes will tempt businesses into developing links between Office desktop software and the company's .Net web services.
.Net is Microsoft's attempt to exploit its powerful position on the desktop to build a linked network over which consumer, business and financial services can be easily delivered.
The tools, released on Monday, are the Office XP Web Services Toolkit and the Smart Tag Enterprise Resource Toolkit.
Both are available free to download on the company's website and, according to Microsoft, will enable developers to build applications that will make it easy for users to access web-based information within those applications.
The Office XP Web Services Toolkit enables developers to integrate XML web services into Office XP applications. This could mean, for example, linking the Excel application to display customer information stored on several internal corporate servers, says Microsoft.
Many companies already customise the software giant's Office software, using its Visual Basic for Applications environment to link Microsoft applications such as Word or Excel with in-house applications.
Using the new toolkit extends those capabilities to tie in the internet and, more importantly, .Net services.
Ensuring that developers build the new ties could ultimately see Microsoft shift the way it collects the bulk of its revenues. Microsoft wants to drive up the use of subscription-based web services.
Enabling its massive Office user base to do just that from within the applications they use every day could be crucial in driving up subscription revenues and lessening Microsoft's dependence on one-time software sales.
The second toolkit, the Smart Tag Enterprise Resource Toolkit, is aimed at enticing developers to extend Microsoft's Smart Tag technology in their own web services.
It provides a roadmap on how best to plan, architect, implement and deploy smart tags within the enterprise. Both are for the company's latest XP-based applications.
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