Microsoft Tunes .Net My Services

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-02-25 Print this article Print

Microsoft may have bitten off more than it can chew with its Web services offerings. It is now telling partners and customers that it may delay the rollout of the first batch of its .Net My Services to fine-tune the architecture and business model.

Microsoft Corp. may have bitten off more than it can chew with its Web services offerings. The company is now telling partners and customers that it may delay the rollout of the first batch of its .Net My Services to fine-tune the architecture and business model. The initial set of 15 Microsoft-owned-and-operated XML-based My Services, which includes the .Net Alerts notification service, .Net Inbox and .Net Wallet, were released as a developer beta late last year, with a full release expected in the second half of this year. But that rollout may be delayed as the Redmond, Wash., software maker refines the services to address user concerns on privacy, security, the use of data, lock-in and Microsofts perceived role as the gatekeeper of the Web services world. It is also battling to find an effective business model for those services, sources said.
"There is a marked strategy shift within Microsoft about the Passport single-sign-in authentication system that lets users access .Net My Services," said a Microsoft partner who has been briefed and spoke on condition of anonymity. "Microsoft is considering developing a new server software product that will allow businesses to host their own .Net My Services data internally. Microsoft has warned us of a possible delay in the rollout of the first set of services."
A developer who requested anonymity and is familiar with Microsofts plans said the company is also looking at how to incorporate its traditional revenue model of selling software into the business plan for .Net My Services. "That will revolve around selling server software to those customers or partners who want to host and manage the data generated by these services," he said. Enterprise users such as Massimo Villinger, chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin Enterprise Information Systems, in Orlando, Fla., are among those voicing their concern, particularly about the security, privacy and treatment of data. "I am, in general, encouraged by what I am hearing about changes and services targeted at the enterprise," Villinger said. "But we have to see the details, and those are still in flux. We have expressed our concerns to Microsoft, and they are taking a proactive stance in that regard." Microsoft officials admit they face challenges with My Services. Eric Rudder, senior vice president for developer and platform evangelism at Microsoft, said the company is working to balance the schedule for My Services with the needs of its customers. "Were figuring out what things we have to get right in Version 1 and how best to incorporate customer feedback," Rudder said. "One of the messages that came across clearly is that customers want to own their own data and that My Services can be run behind the firewall." Microsoft will continue to work on federated versions of the system that gave individuals and corporations control over their data, he said. Matt Rosoff, an analyst at research company Directions on Microsoft, in Kirkland, Wash., said there is a tectonic shift going on at Microsoft in terms of the business model and positioning of its .Net My Services offering. "While Microsoft put together some good technology, they just didnt have enough senior people working on a viable business plan for it," Rosoff said. "The greatest change will be that Microsoft will now no longer position itself as the sole or primary host of these services but will rather sell the technology within some sort of server product and allow ISPs and [application service providers] to host their own instances and also allow corporations to do it behind the firewall," he said. "It may also allow all these different instances of the services to federate with one another." In addition, Microsoft will revert to its strategy of selling software, Rosoff said, but he added that it is unclear whether this would be a separate server product, be built into Windows .Net Server or integrated into a product such as Commerce Server. "I dont expect well see this until late this year when a clearer road map emerges," he said. Related stories:
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    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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