The Ecma International Technical Committee is close to finalizing the Office Open XML specification, which has been developed in part to enable different solutions and software to meet the interoperability challenges represented by the RosettaNet. Under the management of the open standards body Ecma International, the Open XML document formats are now being finalized as a worldwide standard by a group of companies led by Intel and Microsoft. The document format standard offers flexible support for integration of external XML information, which is critical to RosettaNet requirements."Microsoft is investing in the creation of interoperable technologies for the high-tech manufacturing industry that enable companies of all sizes to effectively collaborate across the global value chain," said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer of Microsoft, at the companys Global High-Tech Summit held here."The adoption of the Office Open XML standard will mean that manufacturing companies are able to use the 2007 Microsoft Office system not only as a document-authoring tool for information workers, but also as an effective supply chain platform for value-chain integration," Turner said. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that supply chain inadequacies waste $3.9 billion a year in the high-tech and electronics industry alone. With roughly 15,000 suppliers, most of which are in the SME (small and midsize enterprise) segment, Intel itself would be a significant beneficiary of this next-generation standard. Intel, which has been pushing channel-side standards for a long time, last year recorded more than $44 million in buy, sell and logistics value through its B2Bi (business-to-business integration) strategy and transacted more than $18 billion in standards-based RosettaNet transactions to its top 300 suppliers and customers, a company spokesperson said. eWEEK Open Source Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols contributed to this story. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.