According to a report in The New York Times, Microsoft has cancelled its ambitious Microsoft .NET My Services project (originally code-named HailStorm) because of partners' disinterest and concerns about Microsoft maintaining their customer data. Microsoft originally envisioned .NET My Services as a set of core services that would provide online email, contacts lists, scheduling and calendar information, electronic wallets, and other features. The services would have employed user-established permissions to share this information with .NET-enabled applications and Web services.
.NET My Services was a grand plan with one fatal flaw: The business partners Microsoft contacted to sign up for the technology didn't like the idea of Microsoft and its .NET servers sitting between them and their customers. So although the company touted endorsements from companies such as American Express, Expedia.com, and eBay when Microsoft announced Hailstorm early last year, none of those companies came through with the expected services.
"We're sort of in the Hegelian synthesis of figuring out where the products go once they've encountered the reality of the marketplace," said Charles Fitzgerald, general manager of business development for Microsoft's Platform Strategy Group.
Interestingly, .NET My Services might rise again in a different form. The company is thinking about selling the service to corporations as a shrink-wrapped software package, rather than offering it as a service. These companies could then maintain their own customer data without worrying about a Microsoft middleman. "Frankly, selling this stuff to people who build large data centers with our software is not a bad model," Fitzgerald told The New York Times.