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Ballmer: IT's Potenial Untapped, New MS Tools On Tap

Steve Ballmer opened Microsoft's annual TechEd conference in San Diego on Monday promoting the need for business and technology people to think aggressively about the untapped potential of information technology.

Microsoft's CEO then drilled into the nitty gritty of getting it done, announcing Web services advances and new tools designed to help different kinds of IT professionals collaborate during the lifecycle of Visual Studio applications.

"We have a chance to change the world in a positive way, and I think that's important for us to remember," Ballmer told attendees. "I think the next 10 years will bring more positive change and innovation in our industry than the last 10 years." Anyone who didn't agree about that, Ballmer joked, could "meet me backstage afterwards and I'll have a chat with you."

During the presentation, Microsoft demonstrated an updated version of Web services middleware called Web Services Enhancements 2.0, available now, that brings added security to Web services created using Microsoft's Visual Studio development environment and the .Net Framework within the Windows server operating system. In addition, a "preview" version of Web Services Enhancements 2.0 for BizTalk Server is also available, making it possible to expose business process "flows" in a secure Web services format.

Microsoft also released for beta testing the new Microsoft Office Information Bridge Framework, a set of tools and software components intended to help developers tie the company's flagship desktop applications into data from other sources. Analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group describes the Information Bridge Framework as the latest effort by Microsoft to establish more development activity around Office, partly in response to growing competition. "They want to better integrate it into organizations so it's harder to displace," says Enderle.

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