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Micro Focus International Ltd. Tuesday announced its new technology for migrating mainframe COBOL applications to Windows and the .Net Framework.

The Rockville, Md.-based company’s new Micro Focus Net Express with .Net product enables developers to easily migrate COBOL applications to Windows and the .Net Framework, said Ian Archbell, vice president of product management at Micro Focus.

Micro Focus hosted an event in New York Tuesday to announce its new product. The company is headquartered in Berkshire, England, with U.S. headquarters in Maryland.

“Micro Focus and Microsoft are bringing the mainframe to Windows and .Net,” Archbell said in an interview with eWEEK.

“Over the last 30 years, the mainframe has been a great applications platform,” Archbell said, while pointing to problems such as th eoverall cost of ownership, the speed of change of technology away from the mainframe, and difficulty of integrating applications with other systems.

Micro Focus said analysts estimate that 75 percent of the world’s business data resides on mainframes and that 200 billion lines of COBOL code are still in use today and growing by 5 billion a year.

Archbell said the move to Web services and service-oriented architectures require a move to a platform like .Net. “Now we can get mainframe developers ready to take advantage of managed code,” Archbell said.

According to Archbell, early adopters of its new product will include VSE users who need a place to move their applications. VSE, or Virtual Storage Extended is an IBM legacy operating system for the mainframe. Other early adopters are likely to include smaller mainframe users and organizations that have moved their legacy applications to packaged applications and need to migrate further.

Micro Focus has more than 50 customers who have migrated from the mainframe to Windows and an emerging base of customers moving to the .Net Framework, Archbell said.

Micro Focus Net Express with .Net is priced at $3,000 per seat and volume discounts apply, the company said.