Announcing "HailStorm," a New Set of XML Web Services Designed to Give Microsoft Greater Control of and Revenue from Web transactions

REDMOND, Wash., March 19, 2001 -- Our new set of .NET services -- codenamed "Hailstorm" -- will enable developers to build a new level of personalized XML-based web services for consumer and business users. Five major partners, American Express, ClickCommerce, eBay, Expedia and Groove showed prototypes and conceptual demos.

Hailstorm services will provide users control of their technology and the privacy of their personal information, and allow unprecedented collaboration between users' devices, software and personal data. Halistorm services are centered around people, rather than devices.

Microsoft's Passport authentication technology is at the heart of of HailStorm's architecture, and enables easy access to favorite sites and the cooperation of applications and services on behalf of the individual, as well as allowing users and groups to easily collaborate and share information. This will put Microsoft at the heart of every web transaction, where we can provide a consistent and controlled user experience with a guaranteed stream of revenue for our corporation.

For instance, for booking a flight with an online travel reservation service: The travel service will automatically access the individual's preferences and payment information. If traveling on business, preferences will be limited by company policies, and only qualifying choices shown. With the user's (or company's) permission, the travel service can use HailStorm to schedule the itinerary into the user's calendaring service, send flight itinerary information to designated associates, and enable access from a PC, a smart phone, a PDA or any other connected device.

The core HailStorm services enable management of basic elements of a user's digital experience -- calendar, location and profile information, saving the user from re-entry or redundancy and saving developers from having to create their own separate systems for these basic capabilities. Microsoft's Hailstorm database will provide one-stop shopping for every digital transaction.

The HailStorm architecture provides common identity, messaging, naming, navigation, security, role-mapping, data modeling, metering (think "Pitney-Bowes" - cha-ching! cha-ching!) and error handling (think "blue screen of death") across all HailStorm services. And rather than risk compromising the user-centric model by having advertisers pay for them, users will pay directly for value received.

Users will pay. And pay. And pay.

The HailStorm platform uses an open access model -- it can be used with any device, service or application with an Internet connection, regardless of the underlying platform, operating system, object model, programming language or network provider (i.e., Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, Palm OS, Windows CE, etc). We're not satisfied with controlling transactions only on our platforms after all!

All HailStorm services are XML Web services, which permits us to wave the banner of "open industry standards" even as we restrict key portions of the technology and require everyone to come to us, to bargain with us, to compromise for our benefit. While no Microsoft runtime or tool will be required to use them, do you really think we'll give anything away? Naturally our .NET infrastructure provided by Visual Studio.NET, the .NET Framework and the .NET Enterprise Servers will fully incorporate support for HailStorm to make it as simple as possible for developers to use HailStorm services in their applications. Beyond the advanced tools we offer, developers may encounter difficulty making things work.

Microsoft is committed to protecting privacy and to developing technology that provides the most powerful and secure online experience. Everyone saw how we were burned when email messages we thought were private were made public in the U.S. vs. Microsoft trial last year. We don't want to repeat that sort of mistake!

Like all other Microsoft Web services, the HailStorm privacy model requires compliance with existing privacy legislation and will follow the Code of Fair Information Practices that forms the basis of many consumer privacy programs, including those of the Online Privacy Alliance, TRUSTe and BBBOnLine. Yada, yada, yada. Do you agree, or would you like to uninstall every software component from Microsoft at this time?

Bob Muglia said that "(Hailstorm) starts with the fundamental assumption that the user owns and controls their personal information and is empowered to decide who gets to decide with whom they share any of their information and under what terms." Next, it assumes that every online transaction provides a revenue opportunity for Microsoft. Hailstorm will multiply those transactions, and skim our fair share of the profits.

Tom von Alten      tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_org