Microsoft Announces Decision to Transition ActiveX Technologies To an Independent Standards Body

REDMOND, Wash., July 26, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced plans for fulfilling its vision of openness for ActiveX
by transitioning specifications and appropriate technology to an industry-standards body. A working group of customers, ISVs and platform vendors will convene shortly to determine the process for transitioning ActiveX technology to an independent organization. The group will be a customer-driven organization in which Microsoft is one of many members involved in decision making. The Burton Group has agreed to facilitate this first meeting.

Microsoft’s contribution to this process will likely include specifications and source-code reference implementations on multiple platforms, including UNIX® and Apple® Macintosh® . Key technologies in the ActiveX reference implementations include the Component Object Model (COM) and the recently introduced Distributed COM (DCOM), which binds objects together over networks such as the Internet. Microsoft will also grant appropriate rights to ActiveX trademarks.

ActiveX is an open, cross-platform set of technologies for integrating components on the Internet and has been widely adopted by corporate MIS and ISV communities. As the leading commercial object model, ActiveX is used by millions of application and content developers today. Hundreds of ISVs currently market over 1,000 ActiveX Controls.

“Microsoft’s decision to turn ownership of the ActiveX framework over to an independent third party is good for the network industry in general, and customers in particular,”
said Jamie Lewis, president of The Burton Group, an industry analyst firm specializing in network computing.
“COM and DCOM – the foundation for ActiveX – constitute the most widely used object framework, but as technologies owned and controlled exclusively by Microsoft, they were not vendor-independent solutions. In the hands of a neutral standards body, ActiveX can become a vendor-independent solution, enabling interoperability while allowing both developers and customers to take full advantage of their existing investments in OLE and DCOM technologies.”

“A component object model is the fundamental technology that enables objects on all platforms to interoperate,”
said Paul Maritz, senior vice president of the platforms group at Microsoft.
“The current broad adoption of ActiveX attests to the value of this technology in addressing an important customer need. We are now formalizing the standardization of ActiveX because on the Internet, it is critical that customers can rely on cross-platform, vendor-neutral standards.”

“Microsoft’s intent to submit ActiveX to a standards process is further evidence of the new openness they have displayed since becoming serious about the Internet,”
said Ward Harold, architect, MCI Communications.
“ActiveX is a promising technology. The DCOM component is a natural extension of DCE into the object technology space. I’m sure that submission of this specification will help ActiveX transition from the local LAN to the wider world of the Internet.”

“From a systems architecture perspective, Prudential believes the availability of widely supported middleware products on multiple platforms from multiple vendors is highly desirable,”
said JonathanVaughan, vice president of information systems at Prudential Insurance Co.
“Microsoft’s move to an open, standards-based, customer-driven evolution of ActiveX technology will enhance its competitive position as a multivendor solution. In addition, the integration of this technology with other industry standards should be facilitated by this positive move.”

“The direction to make ActiveX a powerful cross-platform standard ensures that ActiveX will continue to provide the broadest choice for customers with investments in all platforms,”
said Larry Sikon, director of technical services at Montgomery Securities.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft and ActiveX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Ltd.

Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer Inc.

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