Microsoft Announces BizTalk Framework for E-Commerce, Lets Software Speak the Language of Business

SAN FRANCISCO, March 4, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft® BizTalk, a new cross-platform e-commerce framework that makes it easy for businesses to integrate applications and conduct business over the Internet with trading partners and customers. The BizTalk framework is based on new Extensible Markup Language (XML) schemas and industry standards that enable integration across industries and between business systems, regardless of platform, operating system or underlying technology. Microsoft also announced plans to incorporate the BizTalk schema into the Microsoft Commerce Platform, initiatives for the MSN
™network for Internet services, and future versions of Office, the BackOffice® family and the Windows® family of operating systems.

“To get more than a million new businesses into e-commerce, we need to help their software speak the language of business in a consistent way,”
said Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft.

Up until now it has been extremely difficult for companies to conduct business easily over the Internet because of the lack of a single technical vocabulary for describing business processes. BizTalk provides a framework that will greatly accelerate the adoption of
e-commerce because it provides that vocabulary for software across any platform or technology.”

Microsoft is committed to working collaboratively with customers, vendors and industry consortia to define BizTalk schemas and to accelerate the adoption of industry standards. As a first step, Microsoft has begun early work with 1-800-FLOWERS, Active Software Inc.,, Best Buy Company Inc., Clarus Corp., Commerce One Inc., Concur Technologies Inc., Dell Computer Corp., DataChannel Inc., Eddie Bauer Inc., Emercis Corp., Harbinger Corp., J.D. Edwards & Co., Level 8 Systems Inc., Oberon Software Inc., PeopleSoft Inc., SAP AG, SAQQARA Systems Inc., Sharp Electronics Corp., Sterling Commerce Inc., Vitria Technology Inc., webMethods and other customers and industry vendors in cooperatively defining BizTalk schemas to describe common business processes. For example, Microsoft and SAP have begun defining schemas for exchanging product catalog information and business documents between trading companies.

Enabling E-Commerce and Application Integration

By defining a technical vocabulary for describing common business processes in
e-commerce and across specific industries, BizTalk allows information to cross industry boundaries for the first time, giving companies the opportunity to link up with customers and partners in meaningful ways over the Internet. For e-commerce, this means that BizTalk defines business schemas for corporate purchasing, product catalogs, offers, promotional campaigns and other business processes.

BizTalk also makes integrating software in an internal technology environment easier and more cost-effective. Because BizTalk is a cross-platform framework, it allows software to communicate between different common object models, programming languages or shared database schemas. BizTalk is designed to enable the integration of software so that businesses can immediately increase the efficiency of their internal business systems and take advantage of e-commerce while making optimal use of existing investments in hardware and software.

BizTalk Framework Initiatives

Microsoft is supporting the BizTalk framework through a series of product and collaborative initiatives with vendors, customers and industry consortia. Microsoft is investing in a broad strategy that links BizTalk to the existing Windows Distributed interNet Applications (Windows DNA) architecture to create a powerful set of services and tools that help businesses create and integrate applications. Microsoft is also working on five core initiatives to support the BizTalk framework for e-commerce and application integration:

  • Microsoft industry initiatives. Microsoft, its ISVs and industry-standards bodies are working to extend existing Windows DNA industry initiatives with BizTalk to ensure application integration within and between organizations and across industries. These industry initiatives include ActiveStore
    ™for retail in-store systems, Windows DNA for Financial Services (Windows DNAfs), ActiveX® for Healthcare, Windows DNA for Manufacturing and the Value Chain Initiative (VCI) for supply-chain management.

  • BizTalk for products and offers. BizTalk will become the product, service and promotions content framework for supporting the evolution of MSN as a site that brings consumers and businesses together. BizTalk will include rich support for document formats that make it easy for manufacturers and merchants to increase their customer segment presence by promoting business, product and promotional information directly to MSN and other consumer sites on the Web.

  • Microsoft BizTalk Server. Microsoft BizTalk Server is new technology that will make it easier for companies to take advantage of BizTalk. By supporting BizTalk and underlying XML technology, it will enable companies to exchange data and integrate applications over the Internet. The server extends Microsoft’s Commerce Interchange Pipeline features found in Site Server Commerce Edition 3.0 with scalable and reliable interchange and data transformation capabilities as well as enhanced trading partner management tools.

  • Industry-standard XML schemas. BizTalk document-handling schema will be based on industry standards such as electronic data interchange (EDI), borrow from object-based industry initiatives such as the Open Application Group (OAG) in manufacturing, and will be defined in concert with ISVs, customers and industry consortia. As new XML standards emerge, contributors to the BizTalk framework will evaluate and support standards that deliver value to customers.

  • BizTalk support in the Microsoft product line. The BizTalk services architecture will be supported natively in Microsoft products and tools. The Microsoft Commerce Platform, Office, BackOffice and Windows will use BizTalk XML schemas to store additional information about documents and to integrate BackOffice- and Windows-based applications. The next major release of the Microsoft productivity suite, Microsoft Office 2000, elevates HTML to a companion file format and uses XML to store additional document information. The next version of Microsoft SQL Server
    will incorporate native support of BizTalk through its ability to read, write and store XML documents, as well as offer full integration with SQL Server Data Transformation Services.

BizTalk Framework Design Review

Microsoft will offer BizTalk programming tracks for developers interested in learning more about the framework at Tech · Ed, scheduled for May 21-28, 1999, in Dallas. In addition, Microsoft plans to host a design review of new BizTalk schemas with customers, industry vendors and industry consortia in the second half of 1999. The design review will be an open forum for providing input on the BizTalk framework and will result in the publishing of all current and future BizTalk protocols. All BizTalk documents, message handling protocols and service descriptions will be maintained on the Microsoft Web site as a public resource.

For more information about BizTalk, see . For more information about Windows DNA, see . For more information about ActiveStore, Windows DNA for Financial Services, ActiveX for Healthcare, Windows DNA for Manufacturing and the Value Chain Initiative, see .

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, MSN, BackOffice, Windows, ActiveStore and ActiveX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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