Informatica Goes Multinational With Support for Unicode

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Event Summary

"PALO ALTO, Calif., /PRNewswire/ -- Informatica Corporation (Nasdaq: INFA), a leading provider of integrated analytic solutions for e-business, announced the general availability of the internationalized versions of Informatica PowerCenter, Informatica PowerMart, Informatica PowerConnect for SAP R/3 and Informatica PowerConnect for PeopleSoft software, the company's market-leading data-integration software products.

This new functionality strengthens Informatica's global reach by enabling resellers and distributors around the world to convert Informatica software to any major language for resale in their local markets. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, one of Japan's leading technology companies, helped complete the conversion of Informatica software to support Kanji and has already sold licenses to some of Japan's largest companies.

"The globalization of our products is an important milestone for Informatica as it strengthens our ability to build market share around the globe," said Diaz Nesamoney, president of Informatica. "The upgraded version will enable both large companies based solely overseas as well as U.S. customers with multi-national operations to adopt Informatica software. As our customers expand their e-business operations globally, they can continue to leverage Informatica to maintain a similar competitive advantage on a worldwide scale."

PowerCenter, PowerMart, PowerConnect for SAP R/3, and PowerConnect for PeopleSoft have been enhanced to support the Unicode standard, a universal character-encoding scheme that defines a consistent method for encoding multilingual text.

Unicode enables the exchange of text data internationally and creates the foundation for global software. The recognized standard technology for internationalization worldwide, Unicode currently enables the conversion of all major languages of the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Asia, and the Pacific Basin."

Market Impact

Internationalization of data movement products via Unicode support is becoming critically important to a vendor's ability to compete in the market. Multi-national corporations will not be satisfied with support for only the North American code pages (code pages 850 and 437). Multi-byte support is crucial for the accurate exchange of international data streams.

Unicode is a superset of the ASCII character set that uses two bytes for each character rather than one. Able to handle 65,536 character combinations rather than just 256, it can house the alphabets of most of the world's languages. ISO (the International Standards Organization) defines a four-byte character set for world alphabets, but also uses Unicode as a subset. (For information, visit

User Recommendations

Customers evaluating data warehouse solutions should ensure that multi-byte support is included in the products they consider. Even if single-byte support is currently the only requirement (all data is presumed to be in North American languages), it takes a period of years for vendors to add multi-byte support, and requirements may change in a shorter period of time. Unicode is only a double-byte character set, but it is a good step in the direction of full ISO four-byte character set support.

Another requirement to be considered is whether text such as Windows help files should support multiple languages (Japanese Kanji is the usual starting point for vendors). Historically, English has been the language of computer access and programming, but non-English speaking countries have become increasingly unhappy with this custom and want native-language support.

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