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Microsoft and Sourcesense Partner to Contribute to Open Source, Apache POI to Support Ecma Office Open XML File Formats


Companies to collaborate on the development of open source solutions for the Microsoft Office product suite.

REDMOND, Wash., and MILAN, Italy — March 2008 — Microsoft Corp. and Sourcesense, a leading European open source systems integration consultancy, today announced that the two companies will collaborate on the strategy, development and deployment of open source solutions for the Microsoft Office product suite.

One of the initial goals of the partnership is contributing to the development of a new version of Apache POI, a top-level project of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Widely used in financial services and critical enterprise applications across related sectors, Apache POI is a leading open source file format reader and writer to create, edit and read Microsoft Office formats used in Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Visio.

Apache POI is a Java application programming interface (API) used to access and manage Microsoft Office binary formats, and can be easily applied to today’s billions of binary format documents by alleviating the need for complex programming and/or reverse engineering. Because Apache POI libraries are used in numerous open source projects, developing future libraries to support the Ecma Office Open XML File Formats (the default file format in the 2007 Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint products) will play an important role in new interoperability scenarios where XML-based standard formats will be key for Office documents.

“Donating code to an established, consensus-driven organization such as the Apache Software Foundation benefits both our customers and the open source community at large,” said Sam Ramji, senior director of Platform Technology Strategy at Microsoft. “By helping contribute to new Apache solutions, we are putting our intentions into action, and giving back to this dynamic community. We’re excited to work with Sourcesense, whose experience in catalyzing Apache technologies and open development practices makes it the ideal partner.”

“Apache POI support for Open XML is compelling. It makes it easier to integrate, manage and deploy across the enterprise, and opens up valuable user contributions and feedback — an essential step to the interoperability and adoption of many collaboratively developed technologies,” said Gianugo Rabellino, CEO of Sourcesense. “Microsoft’s participation with the Apache community reinforces its commitment to bridging open standards with Open Source. Through our SHARE methodology, companies are able to more efficiently introduce, control and manage Open Source technology across their organization. The timing is perfect, and we’re thrilled to be a part of this important milestone.”

Apache POI support for Open XML is currently in development within the Apache Software Foundation; its first release is anticipated during the second quarter of 2008. Code contributions are made by ASF members and committers (developers authorized to “commit” or “write” code, patches or documentation to the ASF repository), and overseen by the Apache POI Project Management Committee (PMC).

A half-day training session on how to use Apache POI, led by Nick Burch, Apache POI PMC Chair, will be held at ApacheCon Europe in Amsterdam, Netherlands, taking place April 7–11, 2008. Those interested can visit for training details and registration.

The community is welcome to participate by joining Apache POI mailing lists, submitting bug fixes, writing documentation and more. Downloads, documentation, participation and community information can be found at


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