Almost immediately after shipping the first version of BizTalk Server, Microsoft and Covast forged a partnership. Covast provided critical EDI functionality enabling customers to use BizTalk as a holistic B2B platform (XML, App to App over the firewall, traditional EDI). They scaled to provide support for many of our top customers worldwide. Over time, that relationship has evolved as relationships do. As many know, BizTalk Server 2006 R2, due Q3 of 2007, will ship with EDI functionality as well as other major enhancements like RFID and better integration with the .NET Framework components.
Today, Covast remains an important partner. We have worked with them as they build new offerings to extend the surface area of BizTalk. Specifically, Covast is building functionality that will allow customers to extend the EDI functionality in BizTalk with VAN connectivity, regional schema support and management tools for very large ecosystems of trading partners. In addition to these areas, Covast is also working on a B2B appliance – BBot, out later this year, which will offer a very inexpensive option for appliance B2B.