Microsoft Corp. has defused bankers' hostility over the last year. The software giant denied it wanted to become a bank or profit through the creation of transaction "tollways," and it offered its Open Financial Connectivity, or OFC, standard as a sign of public-spirited support for on- line banking and commerce.

Bankers' wariness didn't disappear entirely, however. The Bankers Roundtable's Banking Industry Technology Secretariat vowed to keep its eye on Microsoft and any other high-impact purveyor. A paper circulated last year by Microsoft antagonist Sun Microsystems Inc. may have been influential in sustaining the vigilance.

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