Microsoft rallies push

Microsoft will try to put more meat on what to date has been a bare-bones strategy for handling 'push' technology on the Microsoft platform.

Microsoft will try to put more meat on what to date has been a bare-bones strategy for handling "push" technology on the Microsoft platform.

At the company's Push Day in San Francisco next week Microsoft will focus on Channel Definition Format (CDF), which it put forward as a proposed standard.

"We want to move away from the nonstandard-based push," said Yusuf Mehdi, product manager for Internet Explorer. "CDF is an optimising tool for push."

CDF will allow Web publishers to filter content, employing third-party-vendor push technology to do the actual delivery.

However, Microsoft has not yet discussed how it will manage intranet push content created by enterprise desktops and automatically routed to appropriate end-users.

This week, Microsoft's Internet rivals Netscape and Novell outlined strategies to employ their directory services as a means for managing who is allowed to subscribe to what channels within an enterprise.

Mehdi hinted that both directory services and search and indexing of push content would be discussed, but he would not elaborate.

To many observers, the CDF proposal is merely a way for Microsoft to give the impression that it is on top of the white-hot push technology without really having a product in development.

"This is classic Microsoft," said John Rymer, an industry analyst who specialises in push technology with the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Giga Information Group. "They don't have a product or a plan, but with CDF they can say, `We are in this space.'"

Rymer said Microsoft's CDF is merely a way to control one segment of the push market.

"They are, with CDF, trying to lock down a certain portion of push, that being content," Rymer said.

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