The Object Management Group is hoping to win some of the $100m to $150m that is being put aside by the US National Institute for Standards and Technology for promoting software development and commerce over the Internet. The money is part of a $1,000m grant the US government has voted to the Institute to fund its Advanced Technology Programme to promote the development of Information Superhighway-related technologies, flat panel displays, high-speed communications and set-top boxes. The Object Group, meanwhile, has been looking for partners to set up a worldwide information brokerage service, which it hopes will develop into a secondary lucrative line of business. Users would be able to request information about objects over the Internet and receive both documentation and the contact details of suppliers. The next stage would be to use the service to sell and distribute software. The Institute is soon expected to put out the equivalent of a Request for Proposals, to which interested parties will be invited to respond with suggestions on how they would promote software commerce over the Internet. The Object Group plans to submit its proposal for an object information service, and Sun Microsystems Inc, Lotus Development Corp, and several university and systems integrators are cited as possible partners. The organisation is said to have one sponsor signed up already, and to need only one more to get things moving. The Object Group has also informed the Institute that Object Request Brokers could be used for real-time transactions over the Information Superhighway, providing links, for instance, between applications serving set-top boxes and video servers. Meanwhile, several government agencies are now said to be refusing to buy any object technology that is not CORBA-compliant, including the CIA, NASA, NSA, and the Department of Defense’s Research Projects arm.