Microsoft is boasting that it has surpassed Java usage with .Net and is preparing to make its application development platform more conducive to Web services.
In a speech at the VSLive conference in New York last week, Eric Rudder, Microsoft senior vice-president of server and tools, touted progress versus the rival Java platform as well as future products such as Indigo, a Web services offering now in beta release.
Indigo is to be discussed at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles in late October.
"It's kind of amazing to think the last time I spoke at VSLive we were just on the cusp of shipping Visual Studio .Net 2003," Rudder said. "And we completed that; we did an amazing job of really getting that product out."
"When we started out a year ago, it was hard. We were still behind Java by a considerable margin. They had about a 30 per cent share. But we actually launched the product, made some amazing traction and started to catch up. Luckily, Java flattened out and we've actually passed Java usage with .Net usage, and this trend actually shows no sign of abating," Rudder said. "So overall, competitively, we're doing fairly well."
Sun Microsystems, inventor of Java, disagreed with Rudder's claims about .Net now being used more than Java.
"I'm certainly extremely skeptical of .Net passing Java," Sun's group marketing manager for Java technologies," Ralph Galantine, said. "There is a difficulty in measuring the market because (.Net) is all bundled together [in Windows]."
"There's a substantial Unix server market, and all those machines aren't going to run .Net."
There are currently an estimated 3 million Java developers and Sun hopes to grow that number to 10 million in the next several years through efforts to make it easier to utilise Java, Galantine said.
"We're still seeing good growth in J2EE development and good growth in Java developers," Galantine said. "People are choosing Java for Web services development strongly."
Rudder also discussed intentions for Visual Studio .Net.
"Our key themes for Visual Studio .Net really were connectivity, dependability, the best economics and the most productivity, and you'll see us really continue to extend these themes and extend this lead in everything that we do," he said.
"Of course, connectivity for us includes the latest Web services standards and great database connectivity," Rudder.
He provided a glimpse of the company's Indigo technology.
"On the application side, you'll see us continue to really push forward on the envelope, really leading the Web services revolution. That technology actually just shipped in beta. It's codenamed 'Indigo,' and I encourage you to come to the PDC ... to really hear more about that technology and how it affects you," Rudder said.
At the PDC, Microsoft also plans to give away a CD with some of the company's Longhorn software and the next version of technology in Visual Studio.
Longhorn is the next generation of Windows, due to ship in 2005.
Rudder provided details on other technology plans as well.
The Windows Server 2003 operating platform would be rounded out this year with 64-bit computing support and full support for AMD machines and Intel Itanium 2 systems, Rudder said.
The planned Identity Integration Pack would allow corporations to use the Web Services Security specification, he said.
Additionally, Microsoft planned to take its management offerings and bundle them into a single packaged called Systems Centre, featuring the next generation of technologies around System Management Server, Microsoft Operations Manager, and Application Center, Rudder said. Microsoft was also eyeing performance enhancements for its ASP.Net (Active Server Pages) platform in terms of caching with databases, he said. The next generation of device support would come with the Compact Framework and enhancements to the company's embedded CE technology and offerings for devices.
Microsoft was also targeting Unix users with its Services for Unix offering, which would be enhanced for users that either needed to interoperate with Unix or wanted to bring components over to Microsoft's platform.