Microsoft Establishes Customer Council on Interoperability

Industry and Government Leaders to Provide Input on Making Technologies

Work Better Together

Jun 15, 2006, 01:00 ET from Microsoft Corp.

    REDMOND, Wash., June 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp.
 (Nasdaq:   MSFT) today announced that it has formed the Interoperability
 Customer Executive Council to identify areas for interoperability
 improvements across its products and the overall software industry.
 Customers are working in increasingly heterogeneous IT environments and
 asking for a greater level of interoperability from their IT vendors.
 Microsoft is committed to building bridges across the industry to deliver
 products to its customers that are interoperable by design.
     "As part of our commitment to Trustworthy Computing, we design our
 products with interoperability in mind so our customers can connect to
 other platforms, applications and data easily," said Bob Muglia, senior
 vice president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. "The
 Interoperability Customer Executive Council will help us prioritize areas
 where we can achieve greater interoperability through product design,
 collaboration agreements with other companies, standards, and effective
 licensing of our intellectual property."
     The council, hosted by Muglia, will meet twice a year in Redmond, Wash.
 The council will have direct contact with Microsoft executives and product
 teams so it can focus on interoperability issues that are of greatest
 importance to customers, including connectivity, application integration
 and data exchange. Council members will include chief information officers
 (CIOs), chief technology officers (CTOs) and architects from leading
 corporations and governments. Representatives from Societe Generale,
 LexisNexis, Kohl's Department Stores, Denmark's Ministry of Finance,
 Spain's Generalitat de Catalunya and Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI),
 and the states of Wisconsin and Delaware have joined as founding members.
     Customers Identify Interoperability as a Key IT Priority
     The adoption of disparate systems over time is a reality, but customers
 in the private and public sector still want to take advantage of the
 leading IT road maps going forward. Increasingly, businesses and
 governments are looking at interoperability in IT deployments to drive down
 costs and increase their access to information. Microsoft continues to work
 proactively with others in the industry, including competitors, to deliver
 innovative, interoperable technologies that meet the requirements of
 customers and the demands of the market.
     "Within the different architectures of Societe Generale IT, we are
 convinced that the best way to design flexible and adaptable IT solutions
 to answer the needs of our different business lines is to use technology
 designed with a commitment to interoperability between products, hardware,
 software and applications," said Olivier de Bernardi, group chief
 technology officer at Societe Generale. "With this in mind, we are quite
 interested to participate in this new program launched by Microsoft."
     "Going forward, LexisNexis and our parent company, Reed Elsevier Group
 plc, will depend heavily on the ease, consistency and trust of true secure
 interoperability of operating system and infrastructure foundation layers,"
 said Allan McLaughlin, senior vice president and chief technology officer
 at LexisNexis. "Our customers demand the best of our products, which
 involves working across various vendor environments to deliver superior
 solutions. We encourage all our vendors to take the necessary steps, as
 Microsoft is intending to do with this Council, to significantly improve
 the interoperability of the operating environment foundation."
     "It is important that technologies have interoperability designed into
 their architecture if they are to satisfy our business need for faster
 integration of systems," said Jeff Marshall, chief information officer at
 Kohl's Department Stores. "I appreciate Microsoft's commitment to a
 dialogue around interoperability through this council, and it will
 definitely further the good work we have already started."
     "With the overall responsibility for the largest Microsoft Business
 Solutions installation globally, consisting of more than 600 instances of
 Microsoft Dynamics(TM) NAV, it is important to me to be able to timely
 understand and influence Microsoft's direction on interoperability," said
 Henrik Jeberg, chief information officer, AGM at the Danish Ministry of
 Finance. "We are pleased to be a part of this global council and look
 forward to contributing to higher overall interoperability in the
     "Microsoft's commitment to interoperability represents a key issue to
 accelerate the provision of real e-government services by public
 administrations, anywhere and anytime," said Ignacio Alamillo, CATCert's
 research director of Spain's Generalitat de Catalunya. "Microsoft's role as
 a key player in interoperability will help remove the main technical
 barriers to global e-government administrative services, reducing cost and
 time to market."
     "We welcome Microsoft's initiative on interoperability to address both
 technical and policy requirements and the invitation to participate in the
 council," said Luis Jimenez, subdirector adjunto del Centro Criptologico
 Nacional of Spain's CNI. "The requirement to achieve interoperability
 between public administration agencies operating in an e-government context
 is of ever-increasing importance."
     Microsoft Invests in Interoperability
     Microsoft is making long-term investments in interoperability. In
 February 2005, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates
 introduced "interoperable by design," a concept based on Microsoft's
 industry leadership in expanding the use of Extensible Markup Language
 (XML) and delivering technology that empowers customers by working with the
 applications and solutions they already have in place. Over the past 12
 months, Microsoft has broadened its investments in interoperability and
 collaborated with both partner and competitive software and hardware
 companies when improving interoperability for shared customers benefits all
 parties. Recent examples include the following:
     -- Interoperable software designed in Microsoft(R) Virtual Server 2005 R2
        to support Linux guest operating systems and the royalty-free licensing
        of the Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) format to more than 45 vendors such as
        Akimbi, Brocade, Diskeeper, Fujitsu-Siemens, Network Appliance,
        Platespin, Softricity, Virtual Iron and XenSource.
     -- Technical collaboration agreements with SAP AG, Hyperion Solutions
        Corp. and Sugar CRM Inc.; technical work underway in the Microsoft Open
        Source Software Lab; and dialogue about interoperability issues for
        Windows(R), Linux, UNIX and open-source software on its community Web
        site, Port 25.
     -- Intellectual property licensing deals with companies including
        NEC Corp., Toshiba Corp., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications,
        Autodesk Inc. and Nokia.
     -- Ongoing participation in, and support of, industry standards for
        improved data exchange and application integration in technologies such
        as Web services (Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) participation),
        financial and business transactions (electronic data interchange (EDI)
        interoperability and radio frequency identification (RFID) integration
        in Windows Vista(TM) and the 2007 Microsoft Office system),
        speech-enabled applications and Web sites (Speech Application Language
        Tags (SALT) and VoiceXML in Microsoft Speech Server 2007), and Web
        content (XHTML 1.0 in the 2007 Microsoft Office system).
     "Interoperability helps customers trust that they are making the most
 out of their IT investments, and our work on interoperability is consistent
 with the approach we are taking on security and privacy," Muglia said. "We
 are committed to interoperability for the long term, so watch this space."
     Additional information about Microsoft's interoperability commitment
 may be found at
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software,
 services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full
     NOTE: Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics, Windows and Windows Vista are
 either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United
 States and/or other countries.
     The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
 trademarks of their respective owners.
   Representative Support for the Interoperability Customer Executive Council
     "I have been working on interoperability issues for over 30 years as a
 law enforcement officer, and solving this problem is a priority of mine in
 Congress. Interoperability equally impacts governments, citizens and the
 private sector, and finding solutions demands that governments, vendors and
 customers work side by side. The private sector is often more innovative
 and adaptive than government, providing solutions to challenges that
 government cannot. Industry-led initiatives such as Microsoft's are
 promising and are an important step in improving software and hardware
 interoperability and ultimately in making interoperable communication a
     - U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert
     "Interoperability and reusability place demands on governments,
 citizens and the private sector; finding solutions requires that vendors
 and their customers must work side by side. That makes industry-led
 initiatives such as Microsoft's promising when it comes to meeting
 customers' needs and improving the effectiveness of software and hardware."
     -  Alan Bellinger
        U.K.'s National Computing Centre (NCC) and e-GIF Accreditation
     "Interoperability is one of the key issues facing the private sector,
 the government and the public, and finding solutions demands that vendors
 and customers work side by side. Intellect, the trade association for the
 U.K. hi- tech industry, warmly welcomes initiatives such as Microsoft's
 Interoperability Executive Council, which seeks to meet customers' needs by
 improving software and hardware interoperability."
      -  John Higgins
         Director General
     "Interoperable hardware and software ultimately gives customers,
 businesses and governments the confidence to choose IT products that best
 meet their respective needs. Industry-driven efforts such as Microsoft's
 customer council are encouraging steps toward greater interoperability
 among IT components."
     -  Ina Gudele
        Minister, Special Assignments for Electronic Government Affairs
        Republic of Latvia
     "Interoperability is an important feature of our purchasing decisions
 as we seek to employ the IT technology that is best suited to our needs.
 Industry initiatives such as Microsoft's are most welcome contributions to
 our efforts and promise to result in both increased productivity and cost
     - Jurij Bertok
     ICT Director, Ministry of Defense
     Republic of Slovenia

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.