I had been wondering why there was so little press coverage of the web services interoperability event that Steve Mills did with Bill Gates last week... CNET's Mike Ricciuti has some ideas:

It seems that this time, unlike back in the OS/2 days, it's Microsoft that needs some help.
Gates and company may fear that Microsoft's .Net Web services message isn't taking sufficient hold in big companies that are increasingly wary of vendor lock-in. The company's Web services technology is the cornerstone of its future products. A decision to go with .Net is a decision to buy Windows. But for the past few years, .Net and Java have been neck-and-neck in popularity, and the majority of Fortune 1,000 companies have wisely invested in both strategies.
And CIOs seem more willing than ever to entertain Microsoft alternatives, like Linux, despite the company's mea culpa over botched licensing plans and Windows security breaches.
The bottom line is that Microsoft needs IBM to legitimize .Net and its entire development plan as a truly cross-platform strategy. IBM's openness is in sharp contrast to Microsoft's historical Windows-only agenda. A Microsoft strategy that, for once, doesn't ignore the market reality of heterogeneous IT departments is a good start.
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