Microsoft is investing in new online services

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-03-06 Print this article Print

Microsoft made the WebSlice Format specification available under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise, and was dedicating copyright in the specification to the public domain using the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication, he said.

It had also made the OpenService Format specification available under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, Lapsen said.

Also, as people were using the Web ever increasingly more heavily, Microsoft was responding by investing in new online services. "Activities are a way to help expose online services, while WebSlices delivers what people want on the Web today. It allows persistent connectivity to what they care most about," Lapsen said.

With regard to its recent decision to have IE 8 default to standards-compliant mode, Lapsen said the company had been thinking about the move for some time and that it was not related to the antitrust lawsuit Opera recently filed against the company.

The issue of standards and interoperability were complex and there has been a lot of discussion around this. "I know of no legal or regulatory requirement that would dictate what mode we put the browser in. We want to do the right thing and we want responsible disclosure," he said.

But the moves will now make it very hard for Opera to prove its case, Chris Swenson, the director of software industry analysis at the NPD Group, told eWeek. "Now Microsoft can say that IE 8 is standards compliant out-of-the-box."

By supporting CSS 2.1, HTML 5, and other Web standards, Microsoft was also actually helping its competitors in the browser space. "Pages that look great in one browser, will most likely look great in another.  Thus, not only is IE 8 going to make developers happy, but it should make the guys at Opera, Mozilla, Apple, and elsewhere happy as well," Swenson said.

Microsoft's Lapsen notes that in addition to greater openness and interoperability, Microsoft also has to deliver innovation and value to its customers, partners and developers, while making sure the user remained in control.

But many of Microsoft's competitors are skeptical, particularly those in the open-source space, with Red Hat's General Counsel Michael Cunningham saying he had heard it all before.

But Microsoft's Lapsen pointed to the fact that responsibility comes with market leadership, saying that "I believe that the way to staying open and following a clear path is to keep the user in control."


Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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