Microsoft says it has joined an industry effort, initiated by several of its competitors, to establish a specification defining a standard way for business software to communicate.
The specification, called the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP), was initiated through software developed by JPMorgan Chase. Red Hat acquired the software, and has worked with Cisco Systems and others to establish AMQP as an industry standard.
The AMQP specification seeks to do what the industry has been unable--or unwilling--to do for years: establish a common way to send messages between software packages from rival companies.
Messaging has for years been a standard way for server-based applications to rapidly communicate information for order entry and other near real-time systems. The market for messaging software has been dominated by proprietary systems from IBM, Tibco, and others.
The AMQP effort seeks to find common ground between software makers and end-user companies, and could open up the market to a wider range of competitors. Red Hat, which has been developing AMQP through an open-source effort, hopes it can someday enable a server to process 1 million messages per second, or what it claims would be roughly five times that of existing proprietary software.
Already, Novell, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Boerse Systems, Goldman Sachs, Iona Technologies, Rabbit Technologies, and 29West have joined the AMQP effort.
Microsoft, for its part, says it is joining the effort "at the request of its members, including several of Microsoft's customers in the financial services industry, in order to support the development of an open industry standard for ubiquitous messaging", according to a press release issued Friday.
The company will contribute to the development of AMQP "in ways that will best promote interoperability for existing market implementations and provide customers with increased choice," which could be interpreted to mean a choice between, say, Red Hat Linux and Windows Server.
Microsoft said it sees AMQP applying to applications in several industries such as financial services, insurance, and health care.