Gates’ .Net strategy: Citius, Altius, Fortius

CIOL Bureau
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MUMBAI: It’s official. Microsoft’s much touted (and much bashed) .Net (pronounced dot net) strategy will make its India debut on Thursday as its chief software architect and chairman Bill Gates makes a brief stop-over at New Delhi to unveil his Godzilla plan for the Net.

Considered the "Next Big Thing", .Net is the most radical initiative of Microsoft ever since Netscape threw the Internet gauntlet at its arch rival with its Web browser that revolutionized Internet. .Net is also the "make or break" initiative which Microsoft believes will help it repeat the "DOS in the PC era" magic.

.Net is a grand recipe cooked up by Microsoft which aims at stringing the Net with interoperable technologies. Millions of Web sites can now exchange data seamlessly and a user can access information on the Net as if he were accessing it through his corporate server and irrespective of the access device he is using. Gates loves to call this new model "Webservices". The difference between Microsoft’s earlier initiatives and the latest one lies in the latter’s acute focus on "how personalised can people make the Web".

The basic technology that powers .Net dream is the Xtensible Markup Language (XML) which has quietly caught the imagination of the Web programmers. As Microsoft India awaits the stroke of 12 tomorrow for Gates to unveil .Net, its arch-rival is scoffing at it. "It’s vapourware," say Sun Microsystems officials who are not mincing words to describe their competitor’s Net strategy. "We had said it before. There’s nothing deep down .Net strategy," say Sun officials.

.Net is a strategy which is more like the decider match for Microsoft in the Net era. If it succeeds in its massively complicated strategy then it will rule over the IT world as it did for the last 25-years. And, Microsoft admirers are confident that Gates will make no mistake. "This strategy is personally thought out by Gates himself so there is no issue about its soundness. The issue is about its implementation which one has to wait and see," says a CEO of a leading Web services company.

Strangely enough, the visit is low profile. It’s a crucial visit for Microsoft, but the company seems to have gone low profile as a strategy, feel many industry observers. Several industry sources feel that it’s all about bad timing. With Indian Prime Minister currently on a state visit to the US, none of the key officials are present to entertain the software moghul. The only other event, which has got major billing, is Gates’ meeting with the chief ministers of various Indian states on e-governance.

In hindsight, Gates second India visit comes as an anti-climax. There’s no euphoria of his first visit. It’s nothing more than a business visit prior to his personal trip to Sydney to be in Olympics 2000.