Microsoft to Acquire Web Services Tools?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may have tipped his hand earlier this week with hints that the company may be dealing for Web services management technology.

Microsoft Corp. might be looking to acquire technology to boost its Web services management capabilities.

According to published reports, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer advised interested parties "stand by for news" about a possible acquisition in the area of development tools and XML Web services.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Wednesday reported that Ballmer made the comments Tuesday during an onstage question-and-answer session at the Gartner IT Symposium in Orlando, Fla.


The report said Ballmer said Microsoft needed to do more to help developers "manage" applications over a network.

In an interview with eWEEK, Steven VanRoekel, director of Web services at Microsoft, said that while he could not confirm Ballmers comments he was most like referring to "something with the management of the technology. Thats an area we care a lot about." He added that management across applications and services "is an important area of technology and an area were very excited about."

VanRoekel also said Microsoft has "put broad investment in Web services over the past year and a half" and at next weeks Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) the company will show "more about how Web services will be manifesting" in Microsofts products and plans.

"Well, theyve been dropping all sorts of hints about acquisitions in this area, especially in the area of Web Services Management," said Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC., a Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm that focuses on XML and Web services. Schmelzer said he doubts Microsoft would acquire such Web services management players as Amberpoint Inc., which Microsoft has a strategic partnership with, or Actional Corp., with whom Microsoft has a joint marketing agreement, "because they are insisting they will be working with both parties [.Net and Java]. Microsoft can be very good at keeping their lips locked."

Although it is not clear whether Microsoft would possibly acquire a Web services company or a technology, the software giant has amassed a formidable team of Web services experts to implement its strategy.

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