Microsoft Corp. has announced Microsoft BizTalk, a new cross-platform e-commerce framework that makes it easy for businesses to integrate applications and conduct business over the Internet with trading partners and customers. The BizTalk framework is based on XML schemas and industry standards that enable integration across industries and between business systems, regardless of platform, operating system or underlying technology. Microsoft also announced plans to incorporate the BizTalk schema into the Microsoft Commerce Platform, initiatives for the MSN network for Internet services, and future versions of Office, the BackOffice family and Windows operating systems. BizTalk makes integrating software in an internal technology environment easier and more cost-effective. Because BizTalk is a cross-platform framework, it allows software to communicate between different common object models, programming languages or shared database schemas. BizTalk is designed to enable the integration of software so that businesses can immediately increase the efficiency of their internal business systems and take advantage of e-commerce while making optimal use of existing investments in hardware and software. Microsoft plans to host a design review of new BizTalk schemas with customers, industry vendors and industry consortia in the second half of 1999. The design review will be an open forum for providing input on the BizTalk framework and will result in the publishing of all current and future BizTalk protocols. All BizTalk documents, message handling protocols and service descriptions will be maintained on the Microsoft Web site as a public resource. For more information about BizTalk, see