"A major software initiative launched by Microsoft in 2000. At its core; .NET represents Microsoft's implementation of the Web services concept; which treats software as a set of services accessible over ubiquitous networks using Web-based standards and protocols � although Microsoft has broadly applied the "".NET"" moniker to several independent technologies and initiatives that have little to do with Web services. As a software infrastructure; .NET consists of two new programming models: 1. A Web services programming model; which exposes programming interfaces through Internet standards. This loosely coupled model uses Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP) and other Internet protocols as the main underlying transport mechanisms; and also uses Extensible Markup Language (XML); Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP); Web Services Description Language (WSDL) and Universal Description; Discovery and Integration (UDDI). Initially; most of this model will use a request/reply communications style. 2. A system programming model; designed to supersede Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM) and the Windows application programming interfaces over the long term. This model introduces a new set of fundamental classes and a new runtime environment � the Common Language Runtime (CLR) � providing an object-oriented class hierarchy structure as part of the application runtime environment. It also provides classes and mechanisms that enable programs to be ""wrapped"" as Web services; so it can ease � but is not required for � Web services development."