February 15, 2005 4:00 AM PST

Windows gets a splash of Indigo

Microsoft wants Windows to play well with others. To do that, it's recoating the future in Indigo.

The software giant said last week that an early "preview" version of a new communications system being built into Windows, called Indigo, will be in software developers' hands in March.

To most people, the Indigo software will be invisible, simply a recast set of "plumbing" that only software programmers will interact with. But if Indigo lives up to Microsoft's ambitions, its impact will be great, according to industry executives and analysts.

News.context

What's new:
Microsoft will release an early version of its Indigo communications system, designed to simplify connecting Windows to other systems via Web services protocols.

Bottom line:
Indigo is a stepped-up attempt to tap into big-ticket integration projects--and Microsoft's oversight of Windows and its close ties to development tools gives it an edge.

More stories involving Indigo

If successful, the communications system, based on Web services protocols, will greatly improve the ability to move information between Windows and noncompatible applications--and crank up the competition in an already crowded field.

"It's been a while in coming, but when it eventually comes on market, Indigo will be an innovative and competitive product," said Mike Gilpin, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Because Indigo is being plugged right into Windows, Microsoft will have a well-integrated product, compared with competitors in the Java server software camp, Gilpin said.

Typically, communications software that integrates various systems runs on high-powered servers. Indigo will be much more pervasive: it will be available--for free--on server and desktop versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and the forthcoming Longhorn edition of Windows.

"One of the common misconceptions is that these are server technologies. Fundamentally, the vision Microsoft has for distributing computing is not just forcing everything through a server or through the Web," said John Montgomery, director of marketing for Microsoft's product division. "You need the technology on the desktop as much as the server."

Microsoft also has the advantage of having legions of developers already trained on Visual Studio, its flagship development tool. Indigo introduces a programming model designed to greatly simplify the creation of distributed applications.

"At the developer level, it's still a nightmare choosing which communications transport to use," said Tim Huckaby, CEO of

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5 comments

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Lovely
More security holes for windows incoming.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
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Our "Techno Jazz Ensemble" of Developers are in MS-Mood Indigo
Great article. A Beta preview of Indigo now, is the right Cyber-COMM interoperability tune for the right time.

Bringing Cyber-COMM technologies down to each individual Windows desktop node now is great timing, and is a welcomed new capability for folks who are involved in designing and fielding distributing computing-communications systems applications.

Bronco Billy and the Rascals of Redmond have exhibited savvy distributed computing vision on this one.

Indigo offers much promise as regards desktop-to-desktop, end-to-end trans-network interoperability by design.

Our Cyber-COMM Tech Developer Ensemble is anxious to get our hands on the new MS-Indigo Sheet music for application and integration into the Info-Orb Architecture" we use in our mobile contingency Cyber-COMM Systems. Our system design solutions must flexibly adaptable to and play well with others. We hope MS-Indigo helps us elegantly expand the cyber-systems communications capabilities of our Distributed Information Sensing, Detection & Fusion Nodal-Network applications.

The Cyber-Beat goes on&Tech-Biz Team, J. Albertz Group
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
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interoperability by design
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Posted by Ubber geek (325 comments )
Link Flag
The introductory statement is unacceptable
Dear Martin LaMonica,

I will not play along with fooling myself that Micro$oft wants to play &#38; compete objectively. That is what "wants to play well" means to me.

You think I actually believe that Micro$oft "wants" to "play well" with others? Where have you been? Perhaps you were not specific enough and thus did not catch yourself on that one. They do not want to- they have to, and they veneer it with the appearance of wanting. Try not to help them out by playing along with it.

Truthfully you should have written "Microsoft has to play well with others. To do that, it's recoating THEIR future in Indigo."

Or you could have played it safe and written, "To play well with others, Microsoft is recoating their future with Indigo."
Posted by (1 comment )
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20 bucks......
20 bucks says while not being 100 percent standards compliant, Microsoft has added advanced features to their product that run only on MS server products and other MS software.
Posted by mariusthull (67 comments )
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