Patent holder eyes Web services players

A patent held by a little-known programmer from New Jersey may complicate — at least temporarily — the grand visions of Web services touted by titans such as IBM, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.

Charlie Northrup, the chief executive of software developer Global Technologies, holds one of the earliest patents that describe how diverse computer systems can talk to servers connected to the Web and run software on multiple platforms. Sound familiar? That’s just the kind of service Microsoft is pushing with its .Net strategy, a wide-ranging plan for moving business computing applications such as calendars, word processors and e-mail onto the Web

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