The .NET initiative is a project by Microsoft to create a new development platform, focused on network transparency, platform independence, and rapid application development.
.NET is a combination of a number of related technologies:
- The C# programming language, an object-oriented language similar to Java
- The Common Language Infrastructure, a virtual machine and standard class library (the Common Language Runtime which is designed to be independent of both programming languages and operating systems
- Web services using the SOAP protocol
- Hailstorm, a centralized single sign-on system
Microsoft has submitted the specifications for C#, the CLR, and various other pieces of .NET technologies to ECMA for standardization.