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Web services are components that you can call from your web site or program. They reside on the web server. You communicate with them through an open standard called SOAP (simple object access protocol), which is XML over HTTP. This can be done from a linux box to a linux box; it is not Microsoft proprietary. Where Microsoft hopes to win on this is by making it easier to develop web services using their tools and platforms than any other tools and platforms. SOAP is not spyware; it is still peer-to-peer.