Microsoft Announces Government Shared Source License for Office

PARIS, Sept. 19, 2004 — As a result of the ongoing success of the Microsoft® Government Security Program (GSP) and positive feedback from governmental entities, Microsoft Corp. today announced it will offer access to the source code of its flagship desktop offering, Microsoft Office 2003, as part of the GSP. Building on the existing GSP Windows®
source offering and the availability of Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas announced last year, the Government Shared Source License for Office gives qualifying national governments and international organizations access to source code and technical information about Office 2003. The British government is one of the first to participate in the program and gain the benefits of increased transparency and interoperability of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office 2003 products.

“Microsoft’s collaborative approach and source-code access have demonstrated a deeper level of commitment to our ongoing collaboration,” said Dr. Steve Marsh, director of the Central Sponsor for Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office. “The release of this source code will help the U.K. Government understand the security implications of the Office productivity suite and aid secure deployment in a wide range of scenarios.”

Introduced in January 2003 as an extension of the successful Microsoft Shared Source Initiative, the GSP is a no-fee global program tailored to address the specific information technology requirements of governments. The GSP promotes increased communication and collaboration between program participants and Microsoft, providing opportunities to visit Microsoft’s U.S. development facilities in Redmond, Wash., and review various aspects of Windows and Office source-code development, testing and deployment processes. GSP participants also discuss existing and potential projects with Microsoft experts and provide feedback directly to Microsoft staff. Access to Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server (TM) 2003, Windows CE and now Office 2003 source code, along with additional documentation, and training and technical engagements through the GSP, improves governments’ trust in the transparency and interoperability of Microsoft products. To date, more than 30 countries, including Australia, China, Norway, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom, have signed GSP agreements. Government agencies from more than 60 countries are eligible for participation in the GSP.

“At Microsoft, we view governments that utilize our software as trusted partners. The addition of Office 2003 to the GSP demonstrates our continued commitment to collaborating with governments all over the world to deliver solutions that address their unique and specific IT needs,” said Jonathan Murray, vice president and chief technical officer of Microsoft EMEA.

The addition of Office 2003 source code to the GSP and the Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas license is integral to Microsoft’s efforts to address data exchange and integration needs of governments throughout the world. In November 2003, customers were able to acquire deeper information exchange and interoperability benefits when Microsoft made broadly available a royalty-free license for the Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas and accompanying documentation. Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas licensees 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. Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 enables government organizations to increase the value of information, enhance employee productivity and realize a greater return on investment.

Additional information about the GSP is available on Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative Web site, http://www.microsoft.com/gsp . More information about the Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/default.mspx .

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