The Unicode Consortium (Unicode Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that coordinates the development of the Unicode standard. Its stated goal is to eventually replace existing character encoding schemes with Unicode and its standard Unicode Transformation Format (UTF) schemes, claiming that many of the existing schemes are limited in size and scope, and are incompatible with multilingual environments. Unicode's success at unifying character sets has led to its widespread use in the internationalization and localization of software. The standard has been implemented in many recent technologies, including XML, the Java programming language, and modern operating systems.
There are various levels of membership, and any company or individual willing to pay the membership dues may join this organization. Full members include most of the main computer software and hardware companies with any interest in text-processing standards, including Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle Corporation and Yahoo!.
The Consortium has the ambitious goal of eventually replacing existing character encoding schemes with Unicode and its standard Unicode Transformation Format (UTF) schemes, as many of the existing schemes are limited in size and scope and are incompatible with multilingual environments.
The organization was founded to develop, extend, and promote the use of the Unicode Standard. It was started in January 1991 in California. For the history leading up to its foundation, see the History section of the Unicode article.
- The Unicode Standard, Version 5.0 (5th edition ed.). Addison-Wesley. October 2006. ISBN 978-0-321-48091-0.
- The Unicode Standard, Version 4.0. Addison-Wesley. August 2003. ISBN 978-0-321-18578-5.
See also 
- Comparison of Unicode encodings
- Free software Unicode fonts
- Mapping of Unicode characters
- Universal Character Set
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