Microsoft Continues Commitment to Open and Royalty-Free XML Schemas
April 15, 2004
Releases Documentation for Schema Used by Data Diagramming Tool Visio 2003, Helping Organizations and Developers Create XML-Enabled Solutions

REDMOND, Wash., April 15, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the addition of the XML schema used by Microsoft® Office Visio® 2003, DataDiagramML, to the Microsoft Open and Royalty-Free Office 2003 XML reference schema program announced in November 2003. Through the Microsoft documentation and a royalty-free license, customers and partners can take advantage of the XML schema in its diagramming and data visualization tool. The availability of the Visio schema builds on Microsoft's commitment to XML by providing a complete and W3C-compliant description of the Visio Extensible Markup Language (XML) file format, enabling organizations to access information captured in their Visio diagrams and use it with other XML-enabled applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, as part of their business processes. While Microsoft is providing this documentation in an effort to aid solution providers and in-house developers who want to create Visio solutions, some early adopters already have begun developing solutions with Visio 2003, and have touted DataDiagramML's usefulness in creating data visualization solutions.

Customers, Partners Tout Value of Visio Schema

XML is rapidly becoming a key software technology for broad corporate, information technology, personal and government use. IDC, one of the leading market research firms in IT, estimates that the market for Web services software, of which XML is the critical foundation, totaled $1.1 billion worldwide in 2003 and is expected to grow to $11 billion by 2007. In addition, XML enables a greater degree of data interoperability among disparate applications, Web services and data stores, when compared with older technologies designed for that purpose. By making the Visio 2003 XML schemas widely available, Microsoft builds on its ongoing commitment to promote the development of XML as the next-generation technology for integrating applications, services and data sources.

Solution providers that use Visio in their solutions already have found great value in Visio 2003 support for XML. ProActivity Inc., a leading provider of design solutions for commercial and government organizations, uses Visio as part of its Enterprise Business Process Analysis, Enterprise Process Hub and Process Whiteboard solutions.

"With most business process analysis, analysts often have to coordinate and interact with a variety of personnel to understand their existing business processes before they can suggest any changes," said Avi Fogel, chairman and chief executive officer of ProActivity. "By drawing on Visio's support for XML in our solutions, organizations can streamline the amount of coordination between analysts and personnel, and feed information they gather into Proactivity's Enterprise Process Hub for Visio, where it can be aggregated and analyzed by a business analyst for optimization of the process. This saves valuable time by enabling organizations to access information they need in real time, while delivering results faster and at a much lower cost than alternative solutions."

An international consulting firm, HRW Consulting, has been using Visio in its work with public and private organizations in Europe, and already has begun leveraging the power of Visio's support for XML in its business process solutions.

"The decision to distribute documentation for Visio's DataDiagramML schema is an important step for partners and users," said Dr. Wolfgang Hoffmann, Mitglied des Vorstandes, HRW Consulting AG. "The ability to exchange data via Visio's XML file format makes it easier for us to integrate Visio with other applications as part of solutions we create, such as our Business Process Modeling solution, while providing our customers with a familiar interface for their data visualization needs."

"One of the key advantages we've seen as a result of Visio's support for XML is the ability to more easily share information across our organization," said Dan Mller, head of resource management at Schweizerische Post AG. "A great deal of our work involves a variety of people in different parts of our organization, so being able to share information broadly is a significant boon to our overall business process. The Visio-based solution HRW Consulting created for us, however, has also resulted in significant cost savings. "

"With its familiar Office look and feel, and intuitive diagramming tools, Visio has always been very easy to use," said Matthias Preuss, head of process management at Deutsche Brse AG. "Thanks to Visio's support for XML, we can now connect Visio with other, more complex applications we use in our organization, and have our employees use the familiar Visio interface they already know to gather information."

"Thanks to its ability to act as a smart client for XML Web services, Visio 2003 enables organizations to convey complex data from their back-end systems through easy-to-understand diagrams and to gain greater visibility into their business processes," said Richard Wolf, general manager for Office Visio at Microsoft. "By providing documentation for the Visio XML schema and allowing organizations and developers to create solutions through a royalty-free license, we are not only adding to the strengths of Visio as a development platform, but also reinstating our commitment to XML standards."

Pricing and Availability

Customers and partners interested in obtaining documentation on the DataDiagramML schema can download it, as part Microsoft's royalty-free licensing program, from the Microsoft Office Developer Center on MSDN® , starting today. More information on Microsoft's royalty-free licensing program for XML schemas is available at http://www.microsoft.com/office/xml/default.mspx .

More information on Microsoft's intellectual property policies and licensing programs can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/ .

About the Microsoft Office System

The Microsoft Office System is an easy way to help more people use information to positively impact their business. Through a system of familiar and easy-to-use programs, servers, services and solutions, users can connect people and organizations to information, business processes and each other -- helping ensure that they derive the most value out of information. The Microsoft Office System consists of the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint (TM) Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio 2003 and the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows® SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server (TM) 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office System.

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