"Well, you have to remember that Eclipse is an open-source project first and foremost," Milinkovich said. "And Ive watched with a great deal of interest Microsoft sort of putting the little toe into the pool of open source." In addition, Eclipse will be involved in the development of tools to create SOAs, Milinkovich said. "To the degree that Microsoft might want to have those interoperable between the various run-time platforms that are supporting services, it could be to their advantage to work with Eclipse," he said.Microsoft officials did not confirm or deny that the company has been invited to join Eclipse. Instead, when asked about an invitation, Nick Abbott, group manager of the Redmond, Wash., companys VSIP (Visual Studio Integration Partner) program, said, "A better question is why IBM created Eclipse instead of backing Visual Studio."Others asked what Microsoft would gain by working with Eclipse. "Microsofts most recent adventure with Java was J++ for .Net and a tool that would convert Java code into Microsofts proprietary C# languageneither of which sound like a congenial joint relationship to me," said Michael Hines, an IT architect with a large Midwestern university, referring to Microsofts history with Java and its chances of joining a Java-focused organization. "But stranger things have happened ... so who knows for sure?" "I dont see it," ZapThinks Bloomberg said. "Why would Microsoft care about Eclipse when they have so much invested in Visual Studio?" Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center at http://developer.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.