IBM Fuels Open Standards Adoption in Emerging Economies Through Support for OpenDocument Format

Benefits of New Standard Now Available to Customers Through IBM's Workplace Software

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Delhi, India - 05 Dec 2005: As governments across the globe and in emerging economies show increasing interest in open-source alternatives to proprietary software, IBM today extended its support of open standards to the desktop. Adding to its broad portfolio of standards-based server software, IBM announced that the upcoming version of the IBM® Workplace Managed Client(TM) will support the newly ratified OpenDocument Format for Office Applications (ODF) standard. By extending the support of open standards to the desktop, IBM customers can now help protect an organization's investment in corporate data by ensuring consistency, reliability and accessibility of their documents.

This announcement is particularly relevant in emerging markets such as India, since acceptance of open standards, such as ODF, will help governments achieve their goal of truly bridging the digital divide and reaching out to citizens by deploying open, accessible standards -- not proprietary software.

Commenting on open standards traction in the country, M. Moni, Deputy Director General, National Informatics Centre (NIC) said, ''As a premier government organization undertaking strategic e-Government/e-Governance projects at national and state levels, NIC has been promoting open standards, open source, and products and technology with clear R&D roadmaps to reach public services to "unreached" and grassroots development. They are the key factors underpinning our endeavours to leverage Information Technology as an enabling catalyst to develop and run products and services more effectively and in tune with India's growing digital based economy. NIC has received a mandate from the Central Department of Information Technology to work in the areas of standards to facilitate implementation of the National e-Governance Programme in the country. The choice, flexibility and reliability inherent in open standards like ODF are critical in our efforts to drive the e-Governance / e-Government momentum in the country. I am happy to commend IBM's initiatives in this technology domain."

As an increasing amount of corporate data is captured, stored and exchanged electronically, customers are becoming aware that the accessibility and maintenance of documents is critical to the long-term success of their organization. Proprietary file formats force businesses into a perpetual cycle of royalty and licensing fees, which can restrict growth and innovation by requiring that companies stay locked into their original software choices just to ensure future access to their documents. Open standards like ODF help ensure interoperability between systems, and that documents will be accessible well into the future regardless of the platform or software, offering customers the choice and flexibility to base IT decisions on business needs and avoid being "locked in" to one software platform or vendor.

"The ODF standard is a key development in the management of corporate data and documents -- organizations should not have to pay to access their own data, and the ODF standard ensures that key information like financial records, government contracts, payroll data and other corporate information is usable and accessible, regardless of your software platform," said Bob Sutor, Vice President of Standards and Open Source at IBM. "IBM's commitment to open standards based platforms, particularly the IBM Workplace portfolio of products and solutions, has provided businesses an alternative to proprietary systems, and addresses the market's demand for greater choice and flexibility in their software needs."

The choice and flexibility in IT decisions and the time and cost savings of open standards are becoming increasingly popular with businesses around the world, particularly in emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, China and India.

"India is fast emerging as a key country in the global technology landscape," says Harish Grama, Vice President, IBM India Software Lab. "With the growth of open standards across the globe, Indian governments and businesses are realizing the need to embrace and contribute to open technology momentum while maintaining their freedom of choice. We have repeatedly seen how open standards increase customer choice in the marketplace and tear down barriers to integration. This announcement is a significant step towards bridging the digital divide by driving down prices and driving up access and interoperability and really demonstrates IBM's worldwide leadership and commitment to open standards."

The upcoming release of Workplace Managed Client 2.6 will include support for version 1.0 of the ODF standard. ODF is an XML based standard recently ratified by Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) that pertains to office applications. OASIS is a not-for-profit, international consortium that drives the development, convergence, and adoption of e-business standards. IBM is a member of the OASIS Technical Committee that developed the standard.

The productivity editors within the upcoming version of the Workplace Managed Client, including word processing, presentation graphics and spreadsheets, will support the ability to import, export and rewrite files saved in the ODF standard. This support for industry standards will allow IBM customers to rapidly create, manage, and exchange documents within their business, as well as with their partners and customers. The support of ODF in IBM's Workplace Managed Client helps businesses of all sizes and industries take advantage of the cost and time effectiveness of open standards while leveraging their existing IT investments to help protect the reliability and efficiency of access to documents in the future.

IBM Workplace Managed Client with ODF support will be available in early 2006.

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