Microsoft Taking Standards Route

FRAMINGHAM (06/30/2000) - Microsoft this week submitted its newly announced C# language as a specification to an international standards body, a move users say is a must amid growing platform interoperability woes and concerns about the breakup of the software giant.

The company unveiled C# (pronounced "C sharp") Monday, claiming that it will make it easier for C and C++ developers to create objects that run on the new Microsoft.Net infrastructure and interoperate with other platforms and applications through Web services.

James Nickson, a C++ developer and consultant in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, voiced skepticism about "another quasi language" emanating from Microsoft and about whether C# will solve interoperability problems, because little detail has been provided about which types of objects and classes it will support.

But Microsoft hopes to assuage such fears by pledging to make C# a standard, thereby giving developers an extra incentive to learn it.

"Microsoft wants to use the standards process to . . . further the proliferation of the language," said Jan van den Beld, secretary general of Geneva-based standards consortium ECMA. Van den Beld said he has no concern that Microsoft will abort the standards process, as Sun Microsystems Inc. did last summer.

Sun had long promised to make the Java programming language an open standard but withdrew from the ECMA process last summer, citing concerns about intellectual property rights.

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