Posted by Pamela Passman
Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Global Corporate and Regulatory Affairs

Each year, we share our perspective and encourage discussion regarding technology-related public policy issues through publication of our Public Policy Agenda. This year, we have focused particular attention on the role of cloud computing in creating new advances for consumers, new opportunities for businesses and more efficient and responsive government services.

The explosive growth of cloud computing is one of the most exciting developments in technology today. Cloud computing enables a broad range of benefits for public and private sectors, including cost savings, access by organizations of any size and in virtually any location to state-of-the-art computing power and software previously available only to the largest global companies, increased agility and speed for deploying new software solutions, and job creation.

For example, cloud computing could add $800 billion in new business revenue worldwide between 2009 and 2013. In the U.S., cloud services could add more than $166 billion in new business revenues by 2013.

In Europe, it is estimated that cloud computing will have a significant impact on job creation, with one model predicting that about one million new jobs will be created over the next five years through the development of a  few hundred thousand new small and medium size enterprises. And in the Asia/Pacific region, cloud computing could add nearly $330 million in new business revenues by 2013

Government procurement policies that ensure the widest possible choice among IT products and services can help spur efficiency and expand economic opportunity in key sectors such as healthcare, education and energy.

Policies that protect consumers’ personal information, promote transparency with regard to the privacy and security practices of cloud service providers, and foster clarity on which laws apply to a given service across jurisdictions are also essential to innovation and adoption of beneficial new technologies.

To tap the full potential of cloud computing and technology, it is vital that the public and private sectors work together. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with policymakers, others in industry and civil society, and we look forward to feedback on the economic, societal and technology-related issues discussed in Microsoft’s Public Policy Agenda.