As a sign of its recent fragile peace with the Object Management Group (OMG), Microsoft finally turned up at an Object World conference to give a keynote address, but delivered a sales pitch for its own product line instead.
The high profile of Microsoft at Object World East in Boston this week appears to reflect a growing acceptance in OMG circles of the need to accommodate the supplier's proprietary DCOM and ActiveX products into the OMG world view, which centres around its own standard object request broker, Corba.
In previous years, Microsoft has been the target of much criticism from OMG officials for its reluctance to commit to the group?s standards, but when OMG president Chris Stone took to the stage on day two of the conference he was in conciliatory mood. "Time heals," he quipped. "This is the first time we?ve had Microsoft give a keynote address. It?s a sign that the OMG's and Microsoft?s efforts on distributed objects are coming together."
According to the Object World schedule, the keynote was due to be delivered by Richard Tong, Microsoft?s vice president for desktop systems, but in the event the supplier sent along Paul Goss, VP for development tools, who in a previous incarnation used to represent Borland on the OMG board of directors.
In a speech that ran for almost 90 minutes, Goss? main contribution to the ongoing debate about the competing OMG and Microsoft standards for distributed objects was to endorse a bridging technology proposal submitted to the OMG by Hewlett Packard. "It?s technically very strong," he said. "It recognises the strength of integrating [Corba and DCOM] at the server level."
He added that Microsoft was increasingly pragmatic about object standards. "We are responding to the needs of our enterprise customers," he said. "Much as we would like the entire world to be NT, we recognise the need to integrate with Unix." But he was clearly encouraged by a show of hands from the audience which indicated that the vast majority were basing future development plans on NT.
The rest of Goss' presentation was spent demonstrating or talking about specific Microsoft products, including plugging the patch for the Internet Explorer security bug that had been posted on the Web that morning. Much of this product promotion centred on the company?s plans to take ActiveX into non-Windows environments.
He highlighted the supplier?s alliance with German firm Software AG to produce a Solaris version of DCOM, a beta version of which was posted on the Web prior to his address.
Beta releases for Digital Unix and Linux should appear later this month. Future developments will include versions for Apple, IBM MVS, AIX and AS/400, HP/UX, SCO Unixware and Digital OpenVMS.
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