The .NET Framework has its origins in the Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS), which was later renamed COM+. Microsoft's COM+ is based on the Component Object Model (COM), which was originally designed for use on the desktop. For distributed access COM+ uses the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) protocol.
The .NET Framework provides support for web services via the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) protocol, which allows .NET components to communicate with applications written in any language (e.g. Perl, Java).