The Unicode Consortium announced the release of the Unicode Standard Version 3.0, the software specification that assures a single, universal way to represent text worldwide. Version 3.0 now supports 49,194 characters, including 31% more ideographs for Japanese, Chinese and Korean markets. Implementation support is greatly expanded, with double the character property data, and four times as many technical specifications for supporting implementations. The Unicode Standard is a major component in the globalization of e-business, as the marketplace continues to demand technologies that enhance seamless data interchange throughout companies’ extended — and often international — network of suppliers, customers and partners. This new version reaffirms the broad, cross-industry commitment to the standard among leading IT vendors, enabling reliable transmission and storage of text data anywhere in the world. Unicode is the default text representation in XML, an important open standard being rapidly adopted throughout e-business technology. The Unicode Standard assigns every character a unique number, ensuring the same representation for text regardless of country, language, or operating system. As a result, computer programs written to its specifications can be used around the world without modification. Unicode-enabled programs — client, server, operating system, or middleware — can share textual data worldwide. Text can be transmitted freely, without suffering the data loss that occurs with older systems. The Unicode Standard has been adopted and promoted by global industry. Corporate members of the Unicode Consortium are: Apple Computer, Basis Technology, Booz Allen & Hamilton, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Hyperion Solutions, IBM, Justsystem, Microsoft, NCR, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Progress Software, The Research Libraries Group, Reuters, SAP, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, Unisys and Xerox (many other companies are associate members). Unicode is enabled in all modern Web browsers, almost all operating systems, and Internet standards such as HTML, Java, ECMAScript, XML, and LDAP. The Unicode Standard, published by Addison-Wesley Longman, is widely available in bookstores or may be obtained directly from the Unicode Consortium.