Microsoft to detail .NET vision at ISPCon on Friday

InfoWorld |  Operating Systems

SAN FRANCISCO -- In anticipation of Microsoft's keynote speech given by Microsoft Senior Vice President Brian Valentine at ISPCon on Friday, Microsoft previewed how it hopes to win over ISPs and ASPs (application service providers) to its Windows 2000 Platform for the ISP market.

In the speech given by Valentine, the software giant will outline its plans to offer hosts a free copy of Windows 2000 Advanced Server and one free copy of the Windows 2000 resource kit packaged along with discounts on training and support, Microsoft said in a statement on Wednesday.

"That's about a $4,000 savings. This offer has been in the planning stages for a while but we're making the announcement at ISPCon," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

According to the spokeswoman, Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., decided to preview the Valentine speech in the news release as a way to highlight what the company is doing at the conference overall and, in part, because "no one picks up news on Friday."

The spokeswoman added, "There might be a surprise in the speech -- that's all I'm saying."

Microsoft is looking to win over the ISP audience, particularly with its .NET offering. As outlined by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates upon its launch in June, Microsoft's .NET program is an effort to turn the Internet into a big development platform on which a variety of services and information can be distributed and shared among devices including PCs, smart phones, and handheld computers.

Microsoft will provide a variety of client and server products for the .Net initiative that will be used to create -- and access -- a variety of Internet services. Microsoft also plans to offer a handful of core "building block" services, such as its Passport user authentication system, which businesses will be able to use as components of their own online services.

The initiative also includes "dot-net" versions of Microsoft software, including new interface features to help users interact with the services, and advanced support for technologies such as XML, a key enabler in the .NET platform.

The Windows 2000 Server integrates all of the .NET offerings, and Microsoft is keen to convince hosting companies that the financial costs of upgrading hosting services to Windows 2000 will pay off in the short term because the platform is so scalable, reliable, and cost-effective, Microsoft said.

Microsoft concedes that for many hosts, their experiences with Windows NT was not as smooth and effective as they wanted and, as a result, Microsoft's biggest challenge is to now convince those hosts that Windows 2000 and .NET is the way to "carve out their piece of the ISP pie," according to Microsoft's spokeswoman.

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