Sanjay Parthasarathy

Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Microsoft

Sanjay Parthasarathy has the sales job of the decade: convince Microsoft developers, partners and key customers to buy into the software makers ambitious .Net vision of the Web. That vision was spelled out last year by company Chairman Bill Gates and President Steve Ballmer. It calls for the "creation of truly distributed Web services that will integrate and collaborate with a range of complementary services" and run across a variety of networked devices, from personal computers to personal digital assistants to cell phones.

For users, that translates into a more immersive online experience, says Parthasarathy, who heads the platforms strategy and developer group. Instead of logging onto numerous Web sites or going to various services to fulfill their needs, users in a seamlessly integrated .Net world will, for instance, be able to have their calendars automatically updated with flight information for the ticket they just bought online, Parthasarathy says. "And if the flight changes or is delayed, the site can automatically notify you -- via e-mail, phone, pager."

For developers, .Net "simplifies the work," he adds. With Microsoft providing the software and tools, developers will instead be able to focus on building value-added services that take advantage of that framework.

Like any good salesman, Parthasarathy says he doesnt believe .Net is a hard sell. Third-party developers expect to introduce new services that take advantage of the .Net platform later this year.

"The pivot is really going from the way we view our software today -- as applications -- to the view that what we want to do is for software to deliver an experience that is continuous over a broad set of parameters," Parthasarathy says. "Its as much a cultural phenomenon as a technical one."