April 4th, 2005

JET Open Letter to Microsoft


Original in PDF format

Mr. Steve Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399

Cc: Mr. Bill Gates
Chairman and Chief Software Architect
Microsoft Corporation
Cc: Mr. Michel Suignard
Senior Program Manager
Microsoft Corporation

Dear Mr. Ballmer, 

We, members of the JET (Joint Engineering Team), send this open letter to request Microsoft Corporation to implement IDN (Internationalized Domain Names) standards[1] in the next version of Internet Explorer.

JET was jointly established in July 2000 by the CNNIC, JPNIC[2], KRNIC, and TWNIC[3] to develop and implement IDN technology. JET is responsible for drafting RFC 3743 that is commonly known as JET Guidelines for Chinese, Japanese and Korean IDN. It is referenced by IANA Registry, ICANN IDN Guidelines and also is implemented by many domain name registries. 

IDN is a critical enabling technology that will make the Internet more useable and attractive to the majority of the Chinese, Japanese and Korean population who do not use English in their daily life. In fact, IDN is mentioned as one of the Declaration of Action of the World Summit of Information Society (WSIS).To date, IDN registration has been launched in .cn, .jp, .kr, .tw and many other European country code top level domain as well as other generic top level domain names. More than 1 million IDNs have been registered since 2000. 

Most of the web browsers, such as Safari, Firefox and Opera have implemented IDN standards. This means that users can use IDN in these web browsers without additional applications or plug-ins.

Regrettably, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has not implemented IDN standards even though it dominates the browser market.  

The lack of IDN implementation in Internet Explorer is a serious deterrence to global Internet users, especially for those who do need IDN. Many website owners and application developers are also eagerly waiting for Internet Explorer to adopt IDN standards.

JET would like to urge Microsoft to implement IDN standards in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as soon as possible as IDNs are vital for the Internet development in the world especially Chinese, Japanese and Korean community. 

This will, in turn, benefit Microsoft, by increasing Internet users and more intense use of the Internet, opening up more sales opportunity of personal use of PC, e-commerce platforms, related software products and so on.

For further correspondence, please contact us via James Seng (james@seng.sg). Looking forward to your favorable reply. 

Best regards,

The members of Joint Engineering Team, 4th April 2005


Additional Notes:

1 IDN standards refers specifically to RFC 3490, RFC 3491, RFC 3492 and RFC 3454.

2 JP domain names are now managed by JPRS.

3 The Network Information Centers involved in JET

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) http://www.cnnic.cn/

Japan Network Information Center (JPNIC) http://nic.ad.jp/

Korea Network Information Center (KRNIC) http://www.krnic.or.kr/

Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC) http://www.twnic.net.tw/

Japan Registry Services Co. Ltd (JPRS) http://jprs.jp

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