Microsoft Australia has today announced the local launch of MapPoint Web Service 3.5 with the bold guarantee of uptime of 99.9 percent.

Microsoft told delegates at the Tech Ed event in Canberra that they could guarantee the near 100 percent uptime or customers could be reimbursed five times the transactions missed.

Already available in 25 other countries, the Australian release will allow local developers to write to the Web service to deploy location-based applications for Web sites, mobile phones, PDAs and Tablet PCs.

MapPoint program manager, Steve Lombardi admitted that while “it doesn’t do the what the high end products do,” MapPoint is designed to make mapping more affordable for Web and mobile application development.

Unlike many of Microsoft’s products and services MapPoint Web Service 3.5 is based on the open XML and SOAP standards and will be available to use for Java, open source, Linux and other developers working on non-Microsoft platforms.

“Any environment that can use Web services can use these applications,” Lombardi told delegates at the conference.

The program manager also hyped another new technology that will be available in Australia early next year — Microsoft Location Server, a service that will be hosted by enterprises to track employees and inventory via a mapping service with PDAs and mobile phones. Microsoft is currently trialling the technology with a large media company in the US to help journalists track breaking stories.

Prices for MapPoint Web Service 3.5 are set to be scaled by the volume of transactions consumed. MSDN subscribers will receive a one year free trial of the Web Service, including commercial development.

Developers from across the Tasman will have to wait a further six months for the release to include maps of New Zealand.