Microsoft Serves Location in MELS Diner

Pulling its recent acquisition of Vicinity Corp. into its .Net framework, Microsoft will allow enterprises to pinpoint resources anywhere on the map. Could this be the new "spyware"?

At the Microsoft Mobility Developer Conference in New Orleans next week, Microsoft is expected to provide an update and possibly beta code for its Microsoft Enterprise Location Server (MELS) product.

Microsoft and AT&T Wireless offered a first demo of MELS in September last year. The pair showed how Microsofts .Net technologies, such as the .Net Compact Framework and XML Web services, like MapPoint.Net, could be combined with AT&Ts wireless service to provide a development platform for location-aware applications.

Read More on the Mobility Devcon

Microsoft and AT&T declined to provide any target ship dates or pricing last fall. According to Microsofts Devcon Web site, Microsoft will be providing "an early preview" of MELS, with instructions on how to integrate the product with MapPoint.Net and other Web services.

Microsoft also is expected to detail how it is dovetailing technology that it obtained when it purchased Vicinity Corp., a location-based services and solutions company, with MELS.

Microsoft has merged the Vicinity engineering staff into its MapPoint team. Microsoft is working to combine the Vicinity and MapPoint platforms to share a common set of application-programming interfaces, authentication mechanisms, logging and reporting functions and notification services, say sources.

See "Microsofts Plans for Vicinity"

In addition to overseeing MapPoint .Net, which Microsoft considers its first Microsoft-branded XML Web service, the MapPoint team also is responsible for MELS and forthcoming location-based applications, like MSNs real-time traffic alert and gas-price-checking applets.

One source said that Microsoft may also demonstrate at next weeks show the potential of wireless applications, such as Openwaves Friend Finder, in the context of MELS. Friend Finder, developed by SignalSoft — a company acquired last year by Openwave — enables users to determine the geographical location of friends and family members cell phones.