Russ Atkind

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After months of hype, developers are finally sinking their teeth into the competing new initiatives by powerhouses Microsoft and Sun - MS .NET and Sun One. A beta version of .NET has been available on Microsoft's Web site since March, with Sun's beta platform due this spring. At first glance the two projects are more notable for their similarities than their differences. Both seek the same two important goals: (1) universal back-end integration between every imaginable type of connected device via XML, and (2) moving desktop software onto the remote server, where it can be bought and sold on a per-use basis as a service. Additional common goals include secure, universal access to your applications from any device and an IDE that allows you to create "smart" applications that react appropriately according to context (who you are, what platform you're on, etc.). And b... (more)