Software Briefs: Microsoft, IBM, Anti-trust

Software Briefs: Microsoft, IBM, Anti-trust

Microsoft changes tool support model

Microsoft is altering the model it uses to determine how long it will offer technical support for its development tools, according to Chris Flores, lead product manager with Microsoft's .Net tools division, at the company's Tech Ed developer conference. Starting with Visual Basic 6.0, Microsoft will provide a concrete date for when developers can expect to stop receiving free support for its tools. The software maker plans to offer free support and fixes until 2005 for problems with the product that may arise. Support for Visual Basic 6.0 will come to an end in 2008.

IBM adds security to Web services toolkitIBM is introducing two new security features into the 3.1 version of its Web Services Toolkit. The new additions include an implementation of the SOAP Security Token and the Digital Signature components of the newly announced WS-Security specification. The Simple Object Access Protocol Security Token indicates what the name, identity, credentials and capabilities are of a user sending a message. It also makes it possible for Web services providers to incorporate additional security features to Web services applications over time.

NZ anti-trust complaint

New Zealand's Commerce Commission is yet to decide whether to investigate a complaint laid this month alleging anti-competitive behaviour by Microsoft. "We're getting more information together," said Jackie Maitland, a commission spokeswoman. Auckland law firm Clendon Feeney alleges the introduction by Microsoft of its Software Assurance licensing scheme breaches fair trading and commerce laws. But Microsoft NZ managing director Ross Peat said the company was confident it hadn't broken any local laws. "We are happy to sit down with the Commerce Commission to explain the changes to our new licensing program," Peat said.

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