September, 2011

  • Helping to Respond to the Horn of Africa Crisis

    Posted by Brad Smith
    General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    It has been more than two months since famine was declared in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, leaving 12.4 million people in need of emergency aid. Every day, more than 1,500 famine-stricken Somalis arrive in the world’s largest refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya. According to the United Nations, the Dadaab Refugee camp designed for 90,000 people is now home to nearly half a million people.

    To put this crisis in perspective, the number of severely famine-stricken people is higher than the combined numbers affected by the South Asia tsunami and South Asia earthquakes of 2005, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

    On the Microsoft on the Issues Blog for Africa, we often focus on the many opportunities present in Africa, the amazing feats and accomplishments of the African people, and how technology positively impacts the continent. But Africa, and the world community, face a humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, and I wanted to take a moment to talk about Microsoft’s commitment to help respond to the crisis.

    [Read more...]

  • Our Licensing Deal with Samsung: How IP Drives Innovation and Collaboration

    Posted by Brad Smith & Horacio Gutierrez
    General Counsel & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

    Today, Microsoft announced a patent cross-licensing agreement with Samsung that will provide coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets. The agreement also gives both companies greater patent coverage relating to each other’s technologies, and opens the door to a deeper partnership in the development of new phones for the Windows Phone platform.

    In the context of all the attention intellectual property matters have received in recent months, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the meaning and impact of these agreements. The Samsung license agreement marks the seventh agreement Microsoft has signed in the past three months with hardware manufacturers that use Android as an operating system for their smartphones and tablets. The previous six were with Acer, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, ViewSonic and Wistron.

    Together with the license agreement signed last year with HTC, today’s agreement with Samsung means that the top two Android handset manufacturers in the United States have now acquired licenses to Microsoft’s patent portfolio.

    [Read more...]

  • Technology Education and Literacy in Schools Program Grows by Leaps and Bounds

    Posted by Akhtar Badshah
    Senior Director, Global Community Affairs, Microsoft

    Let’s say you are a recent college graduate with a computer science degree, and you are passionate about education. Would you follow your passion by choosing a job in the classroom if you knew your starting salary would be approximately half the salary of a job in the technology industry?

    Kevin Wang, a Microsoft software engineer who started out his career as a high school computer science teacher, is showing technology industry employees who are passionate about education that they need not choose between the two.

    Wang is familiar with statistics that show in 2011, only 1 out of 156 Advanced Placement tests taken was in computer science (just over one-half of one percent of all AP tests taken was in computer science – only 22,000 tests overall for the year).

    [Read more...]

  • Microsoft Shares Cyber Threat Defense Strategies at NATO Symposium

    Posted by Matt Thomlinson
    General Manager, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft

    Today, I spoke at NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) during the Information Assurance Symposium 2011 on cybersecurity. I started by teeing up two important questions:

    · What techniques are attackers using?

    · What methods do we have at our disposal for defending against them?

    The good news is that organizations can be better protected than the headlines might lead us to believe—even in the face of malicious adversaries and targeted attacks.

    [Read more...]

  • Microsoft Commits to Bring Digital Access and Skills Training to 1M U.S. Students

    Posted by Anthony Salcito
    Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector Education, Microsoft

    Yesterday, I had the privilege of combining my personal passion with my profession on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting to announce that Microsoft will bring digital access to one million students from low-income families. The video of our announcement can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/cgivideos

    Microsoft is extending its global Shape the Future program to the United States. Shape the Future has already provided digital access to 10 million students around the world, and is a continuation of Bill Gates’ original vision of a PC for every desktop and home. Now, through Shape the Future, Microsoft is working with public and private partners to ensure access to technology for youth from low-income households through broadband Internet access at a reduced cost and discounted hardware, software and educational training software.

    [Read more...]

  • New Study: Parents Use Technology to Help Protect Kids Online

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    Just more than half of U.S. parents say they’ve used family safety software to limit or monitor their child’s Internet use, according to a new study. Parents not using such features, meanwhile, say they have their own household rules in place, or they trust their children to act appropriately when going online.

    The Family Online Safety Institute, a global, non-profit organization focused on making the Internet a safer place for children and families, released its first-ever report entitled “Parents’ Views of Online Safety.” The U.S.-wide study, sponsored by Microsoft and other FOSI partners Google, Verizon and AT&T, was released Wednesday during a special presentation in Washington, D.C. focused on online parental controls.

    [Read more...]

  • New Survey: What Motivates College Students to be STEM Majors

    Posted by Lili Cheng
    General Manager, FUSE Labs, Microsoft

    This summer, my research team had six incredible interns, four women and two men. As they head back to college, and as I look at my own two high school aged children, I find myself wondering, what motivates young folks to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees and careers, and what can we do to make STEM and computer science more appealing to more people?

    Getting the facts, according to the Aug. 2011 study on the Gender Gap of Women in STEM from the U.S. Department of Commerce, of 44 million college graduates with jobs in the US; there were only 6.7 million males and 2.5 million females with STEM degrees.

    [Read more...]

  • Data Liberation is Great – Let’s Talk About What’s Next

    Posted by Peter Neupert
    Corporate Vice President, Health Solutions Group, Microsoft

    Today, I had the honor of participating in a Consumer Health IT Summit at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. It was great to see health IT stakeholders coming together to help drive the industry toward a more patient-centric health system, and I applaud the leadership at HHS and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology – particularly folks like Aneesh Chopra, Todd Park and Farzad Mostashari – for drawing attention to the need for patient engagement and ‘data liberation.’

    At the event, HHS announced that they are releasing a PHR Model Privacy Notice for PHR vendors – or personal health platforms like HealthVault – to use to communicate to consumers their data sharing and security policies. We intend to post our PHR Notice on HealthVault.com as soon as the HHS Web tool goes live later this week. We have been very focused on transparency and making it easy to understand how we approach privacy and security since we started working on HealthVault – because we know that transparency is required to enable trust. This notice offers another way to communicate our privacy and security practices, so we will use it and encourage our partners who build HealthVault apps to use it also.

    [Read more...]

  • Microsoft Offers Tips to U.S. Teens & Parents on Good Digital Citizenship

    Posted by Kim Sanchez
    Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    A new Microsoft study shows that before posting personal information online, more than half of U.S. teens and parents don’t truly consider the potential consequences of their actions. Teens recognize the importance of limiting what they share online, yet they still reveal more personal data than their parents. Six in 10 teens also say they have “friends” in their social networks whom they’ve never met in person.

    Chances are, you already have a “digital reputation,” and you may not even know it. On the Internet, we create an image of ourselves through the information we share in blogs, comments, tweets, photos, videos and the like. Others add their opinions – both good and bad – and contribute to our online reputations. Anyone can find this information and make judgments. Accordingly, everyone needs to be cognizant of what they’re posting online, and how that aggregated information can tell one’s personal story and shape their digital impression.

    [Read more...]

  • Creating Opportunities for Washington’s Students

    Posted by Brad Smith
    General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    With Washington students heading back to school, September will see Microsoft build upon the many education-related investments the company has made to date in Washington state, and consider ways of taking them even farther as we move forward.

    Microsoft is committed to the future prosperity of Washington, a state where 40,000 of our employees make their homes and many raise their families. Many of our employees have children who attend our public schools and universities, providing us with a daily appreciation for the importance of public education in the state. Central to the company’s commitment to education is our belief that every child in the state should have the opportunity to build the skills needed to compete in the 21st century economy and share in Washington’s future prosperity.

    However, the state faces a number of challenges.

    [Read more...]

  • Microsoft Voices Support for the ‘America Invents Act’

    Posted by Horacio Gutierrez
    Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

    For six years, Congress has worked to shape a bill to modernize the U.S. patent system. Throughout this process, Microsoft has been a strong supporter of sensible reforms. Today, the Senate takes up HR 1249, the America Invents Act, a measure approved by the House in June. We urge the Senate to pass HR 1249 without amendment.

    HR 1249 it builds on the significant progress toward consensus reflected in the Senate’s own patent reform measure, S. 23, and accomplishes the three core goals supported by large majorities in both Houses and a broad range of stakeholders across industries and the university community:

    [Read more...]

  • Better Care at Reduced Costs? A Real-Life Example!

    Posted by Peter Neupert
    Corporate Vice President, Health Solutions Group, Microsoft

    The results of a recent peer-reviewed study conducted by Humana Inc. and Wisconsin Health Information Exchange (WHIE), a long-time Amalga customer, are both exciting and important.

    They’re exciting because the results begin to prove what many people involved with health information exchanges have long theorized – that providing a more complete view of a patient’s medical history at the point of care helps doctors make more informed decisions that can improve the quality of care while reducing waste. Humana and WHIE achieved an average cost savings of $29 per emergency department (ED) visit when doctors queried the WHIE for information about the patient’s medical history upon registration.

    [Read more...]