Microsoft must work harder to demonstrate its commitment to open standards, according to one of its key software development partners.
Visiting BEA deputy chief technology officer Benjamin Renaud told iTNews that customer demand meant that strict adherence to standards had become essential for all players in the enterprise development space.
"There is no question that the shift towards open standards is because of customer demands," he said.
"This may be spelling trouble for Microsoft in long-term adoption in the enterprise. If you're an enterprise of any substantial size, you have to worry about lock-in."
Renaud acknowledged that Microsoft's shift to a web services model has seen it embrace open standards more fully than in the past, and pointed out that its existing WebLogic Server and Workshop products interoperate well with Microsoft products.
However, he added that basic protocol-level standards might not prove sufficient in the complex world of enterprise application integration.
"Microsoft will standardise at the protocol level, but they won't standardise at the API level," he said.
"Customers are not that gullible. The real level where integration happens is at the programming level."
BEA, which last year ceded first place in the application server market to IBM's WebSphere product line, has been heavily promoting the concept of an application platform suite -- an overall integrated enterprise architecture used as a basis for developing individual projects.
"There's been a huge uptake in the concept of the application platform suite," Renaud said.
"It's been validated at this point. The technology itself is moving at a very good clip."
Renaud also confirmed that WebLogic 9.0 is on track for release in the second half of 2004.
Additions to the new release will include a full XML message broker and enhancements to administration.