Microsoft will unveil new software next week allowing web services created using its .Net technology to run on computers that don't run Windows.

"We'll have ways for people who are not running on a Microsoft platform... to implement our .Net services," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's head honcho.

Ballmer said the operating systems supported will include Linux, seen by some as a competitor to Windows.

"We have a way for people who host websites on Linux to build on [.Net]. That's not to say our overall strategy is not to get those websites over to Windows, but we will provide a way for those Linux servers to use .Net," Ballmer said.

This feels very much like Microsoft's erstwhile 'embrace and extend' argument – essentially a cover for world domination. But it has an element of newness, too. If the company you're communicating with on the web is running a Linux or Unix server, it doesn't exclude .Net services. Ultimately, this should mean more consumer choice.

Last year Microsoft announced its .Net initiative (seen as an effort to breathe new life into the company) as the focus of computing moves beyond PCs towards services that can be accessed from any type of device.