Vertical Needs

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-02-03 Print this article Print

Todays back-end ERP systems can generate a Word document on the fly using XML, allowing users to open these documents and move them around. The ability to connect to Web services is extending that capability, he said. In his address, McAniff sketched the opportunities that are available, while also showing how products such as SharePoint work and can be used as a development environment. "We will drill down into how these solutions can be built," he said. Microsoft realized that it could not build all of these solutions itself or meet all of the vertical needs, so that was where the developer community came into play.
"While we have already seen many solutions built, like the North Carolina State Patrol, which is using InfoPath to get information from troopers to connect with back-end systems. They have saved three-and-a-half person years doing this," he said.
While this was the first such Office System developer conference, Microsoft aims to turn it into an annual event. "This is a great way for us to get feedback from customers and developers and for them to get deep technical know-how from our developers and program managers responsible for the different product areas," McAniff said. In one of his periodic "Executive E-Mail" missives, Gates on Thursday echoed many of the same themes that Microsoft officials outlined to attendees of the Office System developer conference. Gates e-mail message, sent to Microsoft customers and partners, highlighted Microsofts myriad approaches to making its products interoperable with those from other vendors. Gates identified XML as one of the main ways that Microsoft is ensuring that its software is "interoperable by design." Gates emphasized that interoperability should not be confused with open-source software. "Interoperability is about how different software systems work together," Gates told e-mail recipients. "Open source is a methodology for licensing and/or developing software—that may or may not be interoperable. "Additionally, the open-source development approach encourages the creation of many permutations of the same type of software application, which could add implementation and testing overhead to interoperability efforts." Microsoft also is in the midst of a monthlong series of Webcasts dedicated to the theme of interoperability. The Webcasts, some of which are being conducted by Microsoft competitors, address "interoperabilty—why it matters to the business, common strategies and methods, and guidance on specific implementation scenarios between the major platform players," according to Microsoft. Editors Note: Mary Jo Foley provided additional reporting for this story. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

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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