Seamless Data Interchange Across Borders Breaks e-Business Barriers

Mountain View, CA, February 29, 2000 -- The Unicode Consortium today announced the release of the Unicode Standard Version 3.0, the software specification that assures a single, universal way to represent text worldwide. Version 3.0 now supports 49,194 characters, including 31% more ideographs for Japanese, Chinese and Korean markets. Implementation support is greatly expanded, with double the character property data, and four times as many technical specifications for supporting implementations.

The Unicode Standard is a major component in the globalization of e-business, as the marketplace continues to demand technologies that enhance seamless data interchange throughout companiesí extended -- and often international -- network of suppliers, customers and partners. This new version reaffirms the broad, cross-industry commitment to the standard among leading IT vendors, enabling reliable transmission and storage of text data anywhere in the world. Unicode is the default text representation in XML, an important open standard being rapidly adopted throughout e-business technology.

The Unicode Standard assigns every character a unique number, ensuring the same representation for text regardless of country, language, or operating system. As a result, computer programs written to its specifications can be used around the world without modification. Unicode-enabled programs -- client, server, operating system, or middleware -- can share textual data worldwide. Text can be transmitted freely, without suffering the data loss that occurs with older systems.

"The adoption of Unicode enables computer users to read and write documents in their own native languages, and this new version extends this ability to virtually all corners of the globe," said Mark Davis, president of the Unicode Consortium. "This universal representation for text data is a crucial building block in the evolution of the Web and e-business."

The Unicode Standard has been adopted and promoted by global industry leaders. Corporate members of the Unicode Consortium are: Apple Computer*, Basis Technology*, Booz, Allen, & Hamilton*, Compaq*, Hewlett-Packard*, Hyperion Solutions*, IBM*, Justsystem*, Microsoft*, NCR*, Oracle*, PeopleSoft*, Progress Software*, The Research Libraries Group*, Reuters*, SAP*, Sun Microsystems*, Sybase*, Unisys*, and Xerox* (many other companies are associate members).

Unicode is enabled in all modern Web browsers, almost all operating systems, and Internet standards such as HTML, Java, ECMAScript, XML, and LDAP. The Unicode Standard, published by Addison-Wesley Longman, is widely available in bookstores or may be obtained directly from the Unicode Consortium.

Comments from Unicode Corporate Members:

Microsoft Corporation*

"The publication of Unicode Standard v 3.0 represents a milestone both for the standard itself and for computing in general. The Unicode Standard today brings important benefits to all users in products such Microsoft Windows 2000*, Office 2000*, Internet Explorer 5.0* and many other Microsoft products," said Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corp. "The Company recognized Unicode's innovation potential very early on and it has used Unicode successfully as its foundation for its worldwide applications and system products."

IBM Corporation*

"Unicode, as an enabler to support multiple languages and locales across multiple platforms without re-engineering, is a solid foundation for e-business in a global economy," said Steve Mills, General Manager Solutions and Strategy, IBM Software Group. "IBMís implementation of Unicode support across our product lines echoes our overall commitment to the importance of open standards in the evolving global marketplace."

Sun Microsystems*

"Unicode 3.0 represents a great accomplishment in bringing the global community of computing further together," said Rob Gingell, Sun Fellow and CTO of Software Products and Platforms, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "We have been pleased to support the standard not only by contributing to its development, but by incorporating it into our key products and technologies of Java, Solaris, and XML. With Unicode 3.0 supported in Solaris 8*, our customers will have an integrated solution for all their global deployment needs."


"As e-business is increasingly globalized, the need for borderless communication increases too," said Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president, Database Server Technologies, Oracle. "Given that more Internet and e-business sites run on Oracle software than any other, we have made strategic investments to enable Oracle8i* and other Oracle products such as Oracle Applications 11i* to take full advantage of universal standards like Unicode, allowing e-business transactions without regard to language barriers or national borders."

Research Libraries Group

"In addition to its role as a facilitator of global commerce, the Unicode Standard is becoming a key component of the infrastructure supporting scholarly research. Libraries worldwide are increasingly basing their standards and systems on Unicode, because of its extensive coverage of modern and historic scripts." said David Richards, Director of Development, Research Libraries Group. "RLG, a founding member of the Unicode Consortium, will utilize Unicode in our Web-based search interface Eureka* so that researchers can see all the scripts in our bibliographic databases without the need for specialized software."

NCR Corporation*

"Active data warehouses require the ability to collect and analyze information in local languages in order to enrich relationships with customers and suppliers," said Mark Hurd, senior vice president, Teradata Solutions Group, NCR Corporation. "Teradata* customers have been using this technology to their advantage and can look forward to additional Unicode functionality in upcoming Teradata releases."

Progress Software*

"By leveraging the Unicode standard, Progress Software is enabling its ASPs (Application Service Providers) and ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) to quickly and efficiently deliver their business applications to the Internet and to users around the world," said Joseph Alsop, President and Co-Founder, Progress Software.

Basis Technology*

"Basis Technology is proud to be a leading provider of Unicode-enabling technologies, including Rosette*, a cross-platform C++ library for Unicode; Cheops*, a Unicode compatibility layer for Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition; and a suite of multilingual search tools based on Unicode," said Carl Hoffman, president, Basis Technology. "The Unicode Standard is the most direct path to Web globalization, and version 3.0 will prove to be a tremendous advantage for Internet companies entering global markets."

Additional Comments from Industry Leaders

Adobe Systems*

"Adobe products are used by companies around the world to build sophisticated Web sites, so it's essential that we embrace open standards for the benefit of our customers," explained Shantanu Narayen, senior vice president of worldwide product development, Adobe Systems. "As the world's only multilingual character set, Unicode version 3.0 is a milestone in open standards that is being implemented in Adobe products to enable e-business for our customers worldwide."

Agfa Monotype Corporation*

"Agfa Monotype worked closely with Microsoft, IBM, Sybase and others to provide font support for Unicode from its early stages on, and we have been actively involved in the advancement of Unicode Standard 3.0" said Ira Mirochnick, Senior Vice President, Agfa Monotype. "With our WorldType* font library, we are currently the only type company that can offer fonts with full Unicode 3.0 support, and give developers the solutions they need in their push towards globalizing their products."

eTranslate, Inc.*

"eTranslate believes that the acceptance and usage of Unicode is vital in creating a truly global Internet," said Michael Demetrios, CTO of eTranslate. "All of our products and services support Unicode and eTranslate encourages the rest of the Web globalization industry to move to the same model."

ISO Technical Working Group for ISO/IEC 10646

"The publication of Unicode 3.0 is a major milestone for the information technology industry," said Mike Ksar, chair, ISO/IEC technical working group (JTC1/SC2/WG2) for ISO/IEC 10646. "Experts from ISO/IEC worked very closely together with experts from the Unicode Consortium to ensure complete synchronization of Unicode 3.0 and ISO/IEC 10646-1: 2000 to ensure interoperability and data stability.

Internet Architecture Board

"The IETF has made the Unicode-compatible UTF-8 format of ISO 10646 its preferred default character encoding for internationalization of Internet application protocols, so I am delighted to see the official release of Unicode 3.0," said Brian Carpenter, chair, Internet Architecture Board.

Internet Mail Consortium

"IMC members rely on the Unicode Standard in their efforts to internationalize Internet mail. The clarifications and new material in the version 3 standard will help the entire Internet in its efforts to be all-inclusive, said Paul Hoffman, Director, Internet Mail Consortium."

Language Analysis Systems, Inc.*

"Our work often involves the manipulation of multilingual data, and the Unicode Standard and the applications that support it have enabled us to develop solutions in data retrieval, foreign language learning and other text processing fields that are no longer limited to a single language or operating system," said Dr. John C. Hermansen, CEO, Language Analysis Systems, Inc. "Our Arabic WBT site, for example, represents a substantial technological leap forward in bringing native script information to Web users who had become resigned to viewing the world through the English alphabet."

OCLC, Inc.*

"OCLC has made a major commitment to the Unicode Standard, and we are planning to support that standard throughout our services to better meet the needs of the library community" said Gary Houk, Vice President, OCLC Services. "Over the next few years, OCLC will be upgrading its services and databases to incorporate Unicode so that we can support the many languages required by libraries around the world."


"VTLS Inc. has been working with the Unicode Standard since 1996. Virtua, the new third-generation library automation product from VTLS Inc., is the first system in the library industry to be based entirely on Unicode" said Dr. Vinod Chachra, President, VTLS Inc. "In 1999, by using Unicode, we were able to deliver the exact same software to customers worldwide who required both Asian and European languages and scripts. Unlike our previous deliveries, these systems required no special developments except for local sorting requirements. We have come to believe that using Unicode is not just the correct way of doing things, but the only way for the future."

About the Unicode Consortium

The Unicode* Consortium is a non-profit organization founded to develop, extend and promote use of the Unicode Standard, which specifies the representation of text in modern software products and standards. The membership of the consortium represents a broad spectrum of corporations and organizations in the computer and information processing industry. Membership in the Unicode Consortium is open to organizations and individuals anywhere in the world who support the Unicode Standard and wish to assist in its extension and implementation. The consortium is supported financially solely through membership dues. For additional information on Unicode or the Unicode Consortium, please visit

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* Indicates trademark or registered trademark of respective companies.