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Two Ex-Microsoft Leaders Backing Web-Application Start-Up

Former Microsoft biggies are behind OpenDesign. And there's no competition with Redmond.

Two of


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departed leaders have re-emerged elsewhere, backing a start-up that aims at the same goal their former company has targeted -- the delivery of applications over the Web.

Microsoft's former technology guru Nathan Myhrvold and former top software architect Ed Jung are backing


of Bellevue, Wash.

Operating for about a year, OpenDesign is developing a platform to handle the traffic and delivery of applications over the Web. The site is funded by

Intellectual Ventures

, a private partnership created by Myhrvold and Jung, said Caroline Gick, who represents OpenDesign.

Jung is working at the start-up, and Myhrvold is an investor, she said.

Web-based services are viewed as an evolutionary step beyond PC-based software, allowing users to bypass the desktop platform by grabbing applications and information that lives on the Web. Users, for example, could temporarily rent any of the current word-processing or spreadsheet programs.

Web-based applications happen to be the major goal of their former employer. Microsoft Chairman

Bill Gates

launched the company's .Net in June as the Microsoft's most important initiative since Windows software.

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But don't take this as ex-employees taking a competitive shot at the old workplace, Gick said. "They're staying away from that," she said.

In fact, she said, members of the company had talked with Microsoft. When he left the company May 4, Myhrvold, a 14-year Microsoft veteran, said he would continue to consult with Gates.

Gates and Microsoft are betting heavily on Web-based services, but they aren't the only ones with the idea.

Sun Microsystems

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is set to announce its Web-based service initiative, code-named Brazil, early next month.


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, and


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all have their own initiatives working as well.