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Microsoft Continues to Expand Interoperability Options for Office Customers

Company funds new open source project to enable translation between the emerging Chinese UOF standard and Open XML, and delivers

REDMOND, Wash., May 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As part of its continued commitment to deliver interoperability by design, Microsoft Corp. today announced a new collaborative effort with the Beihang University (Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics) and others to create an open source translator project between China's Unified Office Format (UOF) and the Ecma Open XML File Formats. In addition, the company announced the beta release of translation tools for Windows(R) XP, and the 2003 and 2007 versions of Microsoft(R) Office Excel(R) and Microsoft Office PowerPoint(R) as part of the Open XML Translator project launched in July 2006.

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The UOF translation tools will be developed and licensed as open source software, and ultimately will be made available as free, downloadable add-ins for Microsoft Office Word 2003 and 2007 customers from SourceForge.net. As such, the tools will be available for use with other individual and commercial projects to accelerate document interoperability across the industry and benefit Microsoft Office customers in China who need to work with the UOF standard. A preview of the UOF translator tools will be released on SourceForge this summer, with final versions expected early next year. Further details on the UOF SourceForge project are available at http://uof-translator.sourceforge.net/.

"Our customers have told us their data needs can't be addressed by a one- format or one-standard-fits-all approach," said Jean Paoli, general manager of Interoperability and XML Architecture at Microsoft. "Everyone wants to use their data in slightly different ways. That's why we are enabling customers to pick from whatever format they want to use with their Office documents -- whether it's ODF, Open XML, PDF, or new standards like UOF."

The UOF-specific translator meets the needs of government and public sector customers in China who are interested in using the emerging standard, which is being developed by the Chinese Office Software Work Group (COSWG), led by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), major suppliers of Chinese office software suites, and academic institutions such as the Beijing Information Technology Institute. The translator tools themselves will be developed and tested by leading Chinese independent software vendors and academic institutions such as the Beihang University, Beijing Information Technology Institute (one of the co-creators of the UOF Chinese standard), Tsinghua University and LitSoft (a member of Lenovo Group).

Since Microsoft first announced its support for its open source Open XML Translator project to provide interoperability between the Open XML and ODF formats, it has remained among the 25 most active projects on SourceForge.net, and the Microsoft Office Word tool delivered earlier this year has been downloaded more than 100,000 times. More information on the ODF project is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter.

The Open XML to ODF Translator is just one of many interoperability initiatives Microsoft has spearheaded. The company continues to work with others in the industry to provide access to its technologies through projects such as technical collaborations with AOL LLC and Yahoo! Inc. for instant messaging interoperability; the creation of the Interoperability Vendor Alliance and Interoperability Executive Customer Council; the collaboration with Novell; and implementation of an Open Specification Promise. Further details on Microsoft's interoperability efforts are available at http://www.microsoft.com/interop.

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

Microsoft, Windows, Excel and PowerPoint are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Microsoft Corp.

CONTACT: Rapid Response Team of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide,
+1-503-443-7070, [email protected]

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

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