As multinational corporations spend millions to overhaul their enterprise applications to handle the euro, the European Union's upcoming new single currency, Microsoft has offered a modest assist by promising that its PC applications will be able to display the new character symbolising the currency.
It may just be a 'C' with two horizontal lines crossing, but PC users will probably still be relieved to know that Microsoft will offer the character in its Windows operating systems. Updates will be made available enabling Windows 95 and Windows NT to display the symbol, while Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0 will support the euro from their market availability dates. Windows CE will support the euro symbol in version 2.1 and beyond. Users will also need updated printer fonts, a printer that supports the symbol through downloadable fonts, and an updated version of their application, Microsoft said.
The European Monetary Union (EMU) will introduce the euro to 11 European countries in January next year. For a transitionary period that extends into 2002, companies and their accounting systems will need to accommodate both their local currency and the new euro.
Meanwhile, Microsoft itself will start doing business in euros next year, adopting dual accounting, publishing price lists in euros and accepting bills in the currency from Jan. 2. In July 1999, it will also begin invoicing in euros in the countries using the currency. Finally, in July 2001, Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa expects to move all its internal accounting to euros.
For more information on Microsoft's euro strategy, see the corporate web site at http://www.microsoft.com/msoffice/office/euro/euro1.asp/.
(Material from IDG News Service archives was used in this story.)