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Microsoft and Intel Propose New Global Value Chain Collaboration Standards for High-Tech Manufacturing Industry

Adoption of Office Open XML Formats Could Lower Global Supply Chain Costs for Industry

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corporation, in a joint effort to improve supplier collaboration in the high-tech industry, today announced they have proposed the next-generation of open, interoperable business standards for small to medium enterprise supplier collaboration, based on the Microsoft(R) Office Open XML Formats for documents.

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The two companies are helping drive community consensus and standardization of this approach by co-sponsoring the next-generation RosettaNet Automated Enablement program as part of the RosettaNet consortium, which is holding its global council summit this week in Santa Clara, Calif. RosettaNet is a global standards-setting organization committed to finding better ways to achieve a globally integrated value network.

Under the management of the open standards body Ecma International, the Open XML document formats are now being finalized as a worldwide standard by a group of industry leaders, including Intel and Microsoft. The document format standard offers flexible support for integration of external XML information, which is critical to RosettaNet requirements.

"Microsoft is investing in the creation of interoperable technologies for the high-tech manufacturing industry that enable companies of all sizes to effectively collaborate across the global value chain," said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer of Microsoft, at the company's Global High-Tech Summit held today in Santa Clara, Calif. "The adoption of the Office Open XML standard will mean that manufacturing companies are able to use the 2007 Microsoft Office system not only as a document-authoring tool for information workers, but also as an effective supply chain platform for value-chain integration."

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that supply chain inadequacies waste $3.9 billion a year in the high-tech and electronics industry alone. Due in part to its built-in interoperability through XML, the 2007 Microsoft Office platform is an investment that promises to pay dividends to high-tech manufacturing companies industrywide. A standard based on the Office Open XML Formats, if widely adopted by supplier companies, could result in financial and time savings.

"Microsoft's work with Ecma International on Open XML is another example of the spirit of cooperation, innovation and leadership in the RosettaNet community to promote more efficient, collaborative commerce through open, global standards," said Herman Stiphout, president of RosettaNet. "As more companies utilize RosettaNet standards to unlock value in their business, standards-based solutions like these will provide greater connectivity and interoperability, particularly in our efforts to expand to small and medium-sized companies."

With roughly 15,000 suppliers, most of which are in the small and medium enterprise (SME) segment, Intel itself would be a significant beneficiary of this next-generation standard. Already a leader in identifying the use of collaborative standards in its supply chain, Intel last year realized more than $44 million in buy, sell and logistics value through its B2Bi (business-to-business integration) strategy and transacted more than $18 billion in standards-based, RosettaNet transactions to its top 300 suppliers and customers. Extending the benefits of open, interoperable standards-based collaboration to Intel's vast ecosystem of SMEs in its value chain will reduce processing costs and increase efficiencies.

"Standards-based business-to-business (B2B) integration has demonstrated tremendous benefits to Intel in improving our supply chain efficiency. However, due to the cost and complexity of traditional integration approaches, the benefits of supply chain integration standards have not been available to SMEs," said John "J.J." Johnson, vice president, CIO, Intel Corporation "Through the RosettaNet Automated Enablement program, these XML standards can now be used by SMEs. We believe this opens the door to the benefits of B2B integration to millions of SMEs worldwide and their trading partners."

Office Open XML is designed to capture text-based information and can repurpose and reuse the information from the XML format regardless of platform. Standard invoicing, inventory and purchase order forms would be based in XML formats and easily utilized by all supplier companies. The Ecma International Technical Committee is close to finalizing the Office Open XML specification, which has been developed in part to enable different solutions and software to meet the interoperability challenges represented by the RosettaNet.

More information about Ecma International's work on Open XML can be found at http://www.ecma-international.org/news/index.html#recnews .

About Microsoft's High-Tech Manufacturing Group

Microsoft's High-Tech Manufacturing Group provides high-tech companies with the tools to improve performance. Through Microsoft's Peak Performance Initiative and its vast partner ecosystem, the company strives to help people innovate new and better products faster and cheaper, increase collaboration across the manufacturing value chain, improve sales and customer service, and streamline plant-floor operations with visibility from the shop to the top floor.

Microsoft offers an integrated set of environments to help companies handle their most difficult challenges. The company's technology solutions enable people to meet global demands, increase quality and reduce costs in new ways, throughout the value chain. More information on the group is available at http://www.microsoft.com/hightech .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft Corp.

CONTACT: press only, Jen Jorgensen, +1-952-346-6367, or
[email protected], or Karissa Sams, +1-425-452-5442, or
[email protected], both of Weber Shandwick, for Microsoft

Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/

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