India developers show support for HailStorm

Six software development firms in India unveiled Friday Internet applications based on Microsoft Corp.’s anticipated Hailstorm Web services platform, one of the first signs of major support for the initiative outside the United States.

Indian software companies Infosys Technologies Ltd., Wipro Corp., Satyam Computer Services Ltd., NIIT Ltd., Tata Consultancy Services, a division of Tata Enterprises, and Mastek Ltd., unveiled Friday applications built on the architecture that Microsoft is developing to support its .Net initiative.

Microsoft has yet to officially release a set of tools for developing on Hailstorm, though a number of companies are developing early applications for the platform. Microsoft said it would release a HailStorm beta tool set in the fall with products due out sometime in the first half of 2002.

Based on XML (extensible markup language), and SOAP (simple object access protocol), Hailstorm will enable users working on any computing device, operating system or platform to share services and information via the Internet.

Microsoft unveiled Hailstorm in March, amid a flurry of interest in the new Web services platform and concerns over the security of the service, which includes authentication through a centrally managed server run by Microsoft. A number of U.S. companies have come out in support of the platform, including eBay Inc., and others worldwide have also begun developing Web-based services on the model. Microsoft said that the six Indian technology firms are the first in Asia to unveil applications.

The six Indian companies demonstrated preliminary HailStorm-enabled services related to the industries of education, stock brokering and trading, healthcare and business-to-business exchanges. For instances, Satyam demonstrated its Web-based tool for online healthcare, which aggregates both patient information and treatment resources in a single Web page, according to Microsoft.

In addition to a number of third-party efforts to develop for HailStorm, Microsoft is developing its own set of services including notification, in which messages can be sent to a user on a variety of devices at any time, shared calendaring, and an electronic wallet.

Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., can be reached at