Microsoft flexible on Normandy Net apps

Microsoft is leaving itself lots of wriggle room regarding the deployment of its recently announced Normandy Internet commerce technology.

Microsoft is leaving itself lots of wriggle room regarding the deployment of its recently announced Normandy Internet commerce technology. In a briefing last week, Microsoft's Russ Stockdale, group product manager for Internet platforms, said the Normandy technology is not going to be sold as an entire package but will be available as individual components.

"This is a collection of servers, which we be offering on an a la carte basis," Stockdale says. Microsoft has been migrating technology from one product line to another for some time -- a pattern that has increased dramatically as the company has redeployed its resources to focus on the Internet.

The Normandy product line consists of an email server, a chat server, a directory server, a replication server, ActiveX authoring tools and security protocols. The product line provides customer-billing APIs and events, allowing for the user's billing methodology to be integrated into the platform.

When the company announced the Normandy technology in June, it also announced that CompuServe would be deploying Normandy as the infrastructure of its online service. The integration of Normandy into CompuServe's infrastructure would also provide a real-world test bed for the developing product line.

Microsoft officials say that on the same day it unveiled Normandy, representatives from more than 250 Internet service providers, telephone companies and cable companies were at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, to get a closer look at the new product line.

Also, in the area of online chat, Microsoft intends to set a new Internet standard. "Before shipping Normandy, we will publish a new chat protocol and push that standard at the IETF," says Anthony Bay, general manager of the Internet services business unit at Microsoft. Bay says the company hopes to establish an IETF working group on chat standards. "With the exception of the email server, which is a lightweight email server, Normandy could, on a server-by-server basis, be deployed that way," Stockdale says.

Normandy will be available to service providers during the fourth quarter, officials say.

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