A dozen of the nation's largest and most influential computer and software makers on Tuesday announced their support of a new international computer standard designed to ease development of global computer networks and the writing of software in all major languages.
The group, which includes International Business Machines, Apple Computer, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Xerox and Lotus Development, said it would incorporate as Unicode Inc. to formally maintain and promote the new multilingual standard, also called Unicode.
The group said Unicode simplifies the development of international computer systems through a single uniform character standard that could be adopted by all computer manufacturers and software publishers. An early draft of the new standard calls for it to contain more than 27,000 characters. This draft is now being reviewed by hundreds of individuals, companies and institutions, with release of the first version scheduled for later this year.
The Unicode project was initiated in early 1989 by an informal working group of linguists, engineers, managers and information professionals from companies and institutions requiring international computer systems.