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Microsoft boosts RosettaNet support

Microsoft has bolstered its support for business-to-business data exchange among high-tech companies with the launch of Version 2.0 of its BizTalk Accelerator for RosettaNet.

The latest version aims to facilitate RosettaNet implementations through an enhanced suite of development and deployment tools and pre-built support for all of the RosettaNet PIPs (Partner Interface Processes), claimed Microsoft officials.

PIPs provide a standard way for partners to conduct such transactions as ordering parts or forecasting inventory securely. The new BizTalk tools let users import customised PIPs from trading partners, as well as integrate their own applications and partners into a RosettaNet hub.

A wizard enables companies to add and deploy new processes created by a trading partner. Microsoft officials said the wizard gives users the ability to change, update and test the processes more quickly.

BizTalk Accelerator for RosettaNet 2.0 also sports support for additional e-business industry standards, including the Chemical Industry Data Exchange (CIDX) and the Petroleum Industry Data Exchange (PIDX).

Defined by an e-business standards consortium of the same name, RosettaNet is a set of XML standards to help technology companies exchange data across suppliers, manufacturers, and partners and drive more b-to-b automation.

Along with other XML-based e-business standards, RosettaNet is seen as a cheaper, easier alternative to traditional EDI (electronic data interchange) implementations, according to observers. EDI and RosettaNet can co-exist among companies that need to handle both types of transactions.

RosettaNet adoption has to this point played out mostly among the largest manufacturers across the high-tech industry, although the lower price point in Microsoft's latest release could entice more companies to join, according to one analyst.

"In some respects this takes advantage of Microsoft's installed base on the server side and enterprise licensing side to get support for BizTalk itself and to get more of the mid-tier onto a RosettaNet paradigm," said Joanne Friedman, vice-president of e-business strategy at Meta Group in Toronto.

A critical element to more widespread adoption is determining how well RosettaNet will integrate with back-office systems, Friedman said.

The product is available in two editions. The Enterprise Edition is priced at $19,999 (£13,135) per CPU, while the Standard Edition is priced at $4,999 (£3,283) per CPU.

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