Microsoft Touts Framework

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Microsoft is hitting the road to preach the virtues of the Microsoft Business Framework to ISVs and integration partners.

This evolving software sits atop the .Net framework and is being positioned by Microsoft Business Solutions as enabling technology for building custom vertical applications.

Microsoft hopes to write more core functionality into the framework to allow innovation higher up in the stack.

Microsoft's Burgum: 'We need to make a bigger pie for everyone.'

The subject of the framework brings up a familiar sore point between Microsoft and its ISVs, namely the debate over the point at which enabling technology starts competing with third-party solutions.

"There's a lot of fear out there," acknowledged Jeff Braaten, Microsoft's MBF product unit manager.

To allay concerns, the company plans to kick off an ISV road show next month in New York. The two-day event is part of an effort by MBS to "re-engage with ISVs," said Mitch Ruud, product planning manager for MBF.

MBS President Doug Burgum recently returned from analogous tours in Europe where, he conceded, there was "more post-acquisition confusion" following Microsoft's purchase of ERP vendor Navision last year. "I just saw 140 to 150 ISVs in Belgium. There's a lot of pain there. It's not profitable to be an ISV in the post-dot-com, post-9/11 era," Burgum said.

"We need to make a bigger pie for everyone. Our goal is to help partners make higher-quality products more efficiently," he said.

Ben Holtz, president of Green Beacon Solutions, a Watertown, Mass., solution provider, is bullish. "We already use almost all Microsoft development products, so higher levels of functionality are great for us," he said.

Pieces of the framework are expected to surface in the Microsoft Business Portal due next month, the company said.

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