Microsoft sponsors new Web font standard

With a surprise boost from Microsoft, the promise of rich typography on the Web just got a big step closer to reality.

With a surprise boost from Microsoft, the promise of rich typography on the Web just got a big step closer to reality.

The software company's involvement emerged Monday with sponsorship of a newer effort at the World Wide Web Consortium to standardize Web-based fonts with technology called the Web Open Font Format (WOFF). It's a fresh indicator of Microsoft's serious engagement with new Web standards--and it's a big boost for designers' attempts to stretch the Web beyond just the few typefaces that today can be expected to be already installed on people's computers.

It's not unusual to see Mozilla and Opera Software as WOFF backers--the two browser makers have been trying to advance the Web state of the art for years. But after years of going its own way, Microsoft has shown new interest in Web standards and now is a powerful ally that's sponsoring the submission of WOFF to be a W3C standard.

"Given the increasing interest in WOFF from browser implementors, tool creators, and type foundries [it] is expected that WOFF will soon serve as that single, interoperable format and that other implementors will add support over time," the W3C's WebFonts Working Group said of the move.

For more on this story, read Microsoft sponsors new Web font standard on CNET News.

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