On May 7th, Microsoft released a new Word add-on to help visually impaired users
PC Magazine reported that on May 7th, “Microsoft joined with Sonata Software, Ltd. and the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium to launch an initiative to make Word documents more accessible to blind and print-disabled users.”  This collaboration is another milestone in Microsoft’s accessibility effort to make products easier to use for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the project was created using open-source programming.

Newly-established International Telecommunications Union (ITU) fund receives contribution from Microsoft
Microsoft has joined other companies, including Nokia Siemens Networks and Cisco, to contribute toward a newly-established International Telecommunications Union (ITU) fund, which is dedicated toward bridging the standardization gap between developed and developing countries. “The ITU fund represents important efforts being made to ensure that all countries have the opportunity to contribute to standards development,” said Tom Robertson, general manager for Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft. “We look forward to supporting the ITU’s efforts to resolve disparities and bring the potential of technology development to all communities.” For more information about the fund, please go to: http://www.itu.int/net/home/index.aspx.

Interop conference: Microsoft reports more than 200,000 Protocol Downloads
InformationWeek reported Microsoft has seen more than 200,000 downloads of technical documents since it posted the documents in February. Bob Muglia, Senior Vice President of the Server and Tools Business delivered this information on Tuesday in his keynote at the Interop conference in Las Vegas.  As part of its Interoperability Principles, which supports software industry interoperability and standards, Microsoft has posted more than 44,000 pages of documentation since February. Muglia said Microsoft products will feature "open connections" that will allow outside developers to more easily write programs that interact with those of the company.  He also said interoperability is a key part of Microsoft's "10-year vision" for building systems that add up to "dynamic IT."

Interop Resources 

· www.microsoft.com/interop - interoperability information for IT Pros/Architects, Partners, and Government/Public Institutions. 

· Interoperability Principles (I-IV) – Announced February 21, 2008

° Interoperability Forum seeking worldwide customer dialog and input, Interop Principle IV(1)

° Open Source Interoperability Initiative, Interop Principle IV(2)

° Document Interoperability Initiative, Interop Principle III (MS PressPass article)

· IP Protocols – learn more about licensing Microsoft Protocols

· InteropVendorAlliance.org – learn more about this community of software and hardware vendors working together to enhance interoperability with Microsoft systems