Microsoft Announces Availability of Open and Royalty-Free License For Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Nov. 17, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of a royalty-free licensing program for its Microsoft®
Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas and accompanying documentation. The Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas enable organizations of all sizes to utilize industry-standard Extensible Markup Language (XML) technology in managing spreadsheet, word processing and form documents. Microsoft’s new Office 2003 versions of Word, Excel and the InfoPath (TM) information-gathering program utilize schemas that describe how information is stored when documents are saved as XML. By licensing the schemas royalty-free, Microsoft builds on its ongoing commitment to promote the development of XML as the next-generation technology for integrating applications, services and data sources.

As information exchange and integration have increased in critical importance, customers, partners, governments and the IT industry have asked Microsoft to deliver solutions that improve data interoperability and exchange. To help address these issues, Microsoft is delivering the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas and enabling software companies to build products that can smoothly interoperate with Microsoft Office 2003. Licensees will also benefit from more readily available data identification within documents, ease of report generation and document assembly from existing content, and extraction of existing data for automated processing.

“The Danish government’s utilization of standards-based technology like XML showcases its commitment to forward-thinking IT infrastructure and management,” said Patrick De Smedt, EMEA chairman at Microsoft. “This decision sets a significant precedent for other European governments, customers and partners.”

As a continuation of Microsoft’s XML Web Services Scenarios strategy announced at Forum 2000, this license builds on the company’s history of developing, supporting and playing a key role in promoting XML standards in the W3C, ECMA, OASIS and other standards organizations. To ensure broad availability and access, Microsoft is offering the royalty-free license using XML Schema Definitions (XSDs), the cross-industry standard developed by the W3C. The license provides access to the schemas and full documentation to interested parties and is designed for ease of use and adoption. The Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas include WordprocessingML (Microsoft Office Word 2003), SpreadsheetML (Microsoft Office Excel 2003) and FormTemplate XML schemas (Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003).

The initiative came about after fruitful discussions with the Danish Government. One of the most important IT issues for government customers is managing, archiving, accessing and interchanging documents. The Danish government is already taking advantage of the open and royalty-free license for the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. The government’s ambitious InfoStructure Base project seeks to encourage enhanced exchange of information across the Danish public sector by creating a repository of XML schemas. With an open and royalty-free license of the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas, the Danish government will better realize its objective of promoting data exchange and interoperability.

“As part of our software strategy, we asked Microsoft to provide us with technology that would help exchange our many millions of documents. We wanted something that would make communication easier, create interoperability and stimulate innovation,” said Helge Sander, minister for Science, Technology and Innovation for the Danish government. “Microsoft has responded with a clear step in the right direction by making its XML technology openly available. This enables our E-Government solutions to utilize standards-based technology while further enabling open and effective tools for our citizens and government.”

The Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas documentation and license can be obtained by interested parties starting Dec. 5, 2003, through the Microsoft Software Developer Network website ( http://msdn.microsoft.com/office/ ). Microsoft is making available WordprocessingML today at http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/. Implementation of the documentation and license can be viewed in the Danish InfoStructureBase at http://isb.oio.dk/info/

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