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OpenAJAX Turns One, Microsoft Comes to the Party

NEW YORK -- AJAX is not about any one company or vendors standards. The openness of AJAX was underscored today by the announcement at AJAXWorld that the OpenAJAX Alliance has hit its one-year milestone and that Microsoft is finally joining the party.

With Microsoft  on board, the OpenAJAX Alliance, an open industry collaboration of vendors that are all focused on AJAX interoperability and development, has now hit a critical mass of 72 vendors.

The group has come along way from humble beginnings. David Boloker, Chief Technology Officer, Emerging Internet Technology Software Group at IBM, noted that in the beginning it was just an idea shared between himself and Scott Dietzen, president and CTO of Zimbra.

In addition to his duties at IBM, Boloker is also the OpenAJAX Steering Committee Chairman.

"When Scott Dietzen and I started OpenAJAX we had a couple of key focus points, first one was marketing and the second was interoperability," Boloker told internetnews.com. "The problem was pretty clear with lots of different stuff out there and no interoperability."

Though Microsoft is only officially joining the group today, Boloker noted that he personally had contacted Microsoft a year ago to ask if they would join and has kept the door open ever since.

"This is not an IBM versus Microsoft debate and it's not a rest of the industry versus Microsoft issue," Boloker said. "They are coming to the plate with a huge install base of IE and I think they realize the Web has Web applications and that AJAX has risen as the way to build Web applications."

Keith Smith, group product manager of the Core Web Platform & Tools to UX Web/Client Platform & Tools team at Microsoft told internetnews.com that the reason for Microsoft's entry into OpenAJAX today is not about a maturity issue for AJAX and/or the OpenAJAX alliance.

"Microsoft is and has always been very committed to the developer community and Microsoft representatives have been engaged in ongoing dialogue with the OpenAJAX Alliance organizers for some time," Smith said. "During this time we learned more about the initiative and evaluated how we could maximize our investment and create the most value for the community."

Smith also agreed that the OpenAJAX Alliance is not just about IBM.

"We see OpenAJAX Alliance as a collection of industry leaders coming together to create interoperable solutions that benefit all developers," Smith said. "Microsoft has a lot to offer and to contribute and we are eager to work with all members of the alliance equally on behalf of our developer community."

The timing couldn't be better for the OpenAJAX Alliance.

Though Boloker noted that the first year was a positive one for him and the Alliance, the real hard work begins now in year two.

"How are we as an industry going to deal with Web-based security?" Boloker asked. "This is not something that OpenAJAX will solve, per se, but OpenAJAX is getting the industry partners to begin the discussion."