Achieving Interoperability through Standards - FAQ RRS feed

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  • Achieving Interoperability through Standards - FAQ

    Q: What is Microsoft’s approach to Standards work?

    A: Microsoft supports a wide range of industry and technical standards that encourage interoperability between different applications and technology platforms. In addition, Microsoft actively participates in standards-setting organizations and is focused on delivering technologies that meet the interoperability needs of its customers.


    Q: What role do standards play in achieving interoperability?

    A: While standards frequently play a role in either creating or enhancing interoperability, they are not the only way to deliver interoperability in the marketplace. Three other key ways include: designing products to offer technical interoperability out of the box with software and hardware from other vendors; directly collaborating with partners to deliver more integrated and interoperable solutions for customers; and sharing technology and related intellectual property to encourage interoperability and enable the creation of translation tools across systems. 


    Furthermore, interoperability does not end with creation of a standard. Working together with other vendors in a wide variety of industry associations and interoperability testing projects, Microsoft participates with hundreds of other companies to resolve interoperability issues in independent implementation of standards.


    Q: How can standardization be balanced with innovation?

    A: While standards are frequently a robust and practical solution for solving interoperability, standardization should be treated as just one of several ways to build interoperability between products. In fact, solely relying upon standards can limit innovation by restricting further development in a given market segment or technology area. Fostering innovation is especially important in younger, less-stable markets that are still evolving to meet market demand.


    In addition, the co-existence of complementary and sometimes competing standards is in some cases a key element in balancing standardization with innovation. This is because standards are frequently born out of different needs; therefore, relatively similar standards can still serve different purposes in the market and, in their own way, be of value to unique groups of consumers by providing flexibility and choice.


    Q: What are the benefits of market-driven standards and the drawbacks of government-imposed procurement preferences?

    A: Voluntary, market-driven standards facilitate market access and growth that promotes global competition and innovation in these dynamic and emerging areas. Market-driven standards often result when people or organizations have the flexibility to collaborate voluntarily on the development and implementation of that standard. However, standards can also be used to impede market access, with governments imposing procurement-based preferences or outright regulations and effectively raising barriers to purchasing and free trade. These tactics are frequently used, and can entrench inferior technologies, thus limiting competition and slowing innovation. This may not only affect a government but also their business communities’ bottom line by blocking the sale of certain products or services in a particular market, and can limit customer choice in that market.


    Q:  How does Microsoft choose which Standards to implement?

    A:  Standards are considered as a way to meet customer requirements along with other needs such as another company’s technology. Solutions that meet the needs and timelines of customers, partners, and developers are generally selected.


    Q:  How does Microsoft decide which Standards Organizations to belong to?

    A:  Microsoft works with those organizations that address the needs of customers, are open to participation of a broad set of the relevant development and implementer community and that respect intellectual property rights in their policies and procedures.


    Wednesday, March 19, 2008 6:38 PM