October, 2011

  • Microsoft’s New Patent Agreement with Compal: A New Milestone for Our Android Licensing Program

    Posted by Brad Smith and Horacio Gutierrez
    Executive Vice President and General Counsel & Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

    Today, Microsoft announced its tenth license agreement providing coverage under our patent portfolio for Android mobile phones and tablets. Today's agreement is with Compal, one of the world’s largest Original Design Manufacturers, or ODMs. Compal is based in Taiwan, where it produces smartphones and tablet computers for third parties and has revenue of roughly $28 billion per year.

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  • Initiative 1125 is the Wrong Vision for our Transportation Future

    Posted by Brad Smith
    Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Microsoft

    Did you know that only eight states in the country have a higher percentage of functionally obsolete bridges than Washington? The fact is, over the past two decades, the Puget Sound region’s transportation infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the region’s population and job growth.

    Enhanced mobility across the region is an important local priority for Microsoft. With nearly 40,000 employees based in the Puget Sound region, the company and our people need an efficient transportation system. It is important to our own business, and it’s important to economic growth, job creation and the quality of life across our state.

    As a company, we’re opposing Initiative 1125 on the Washington state ballot this November because it would seriously undermine improvements to our transportation infrastructure, unfairly eliminate options for commuters, and impact the state’s economy.

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  • Microsoft Honored at FCC for Accessibility Tools and Training Resources

    Posted by Laura Ruby
    Director, Trustworthy Computing - Accessibility Policy & Standards, Microsoft

    Today, in a ceremony hosted by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski , Microsoft received a Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility in recognition of the company’s work in creating a set of Accessibility Tools and Training Resources.

    The awards were presented for the development of individual mainstream or assistive technologies introduced into the marketplace, the development of standards, or the implementation of best practices that foster accessibility. The timing of the a ceremony was very fitting because October is Disability Employment Awareness Month, and also marks the first anniversary of the Twenty-First Communications and Video Programming Accessibility Act (CVAA).

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  • Corporate Governance at Microsoft: A Look Back and a Look Ahead

    Posted by John Seethoff
    Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

    With the approach of Microsoft’s annual shareholders meeting on Nov. 15th, I am excited to take a look back at some of the recent results of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to promote the long-term interests of our shareholders, as well as to maintain internal checks and balances, strengthen management accountability, and foster responsible decision making.

    · Corporate Citizenship: In March, Microsoft was one of a select few companies named to the Ethisphere Institute’s 2011 List of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. On Oct. 3rd, we released our annual Citizenship Report describing the many activities Microsoft has been pursuing under the dual themes of “Serving Communities” and “Working Responsibly.”

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  • New Microsoft White Paper: “Smart” Buildings Cut Energy Costs

    Posted by Josh Henretig
    Director, Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft

    Today, Microsoft published a white paper detailing the results of a pilot program on our corporate campus in Redmond, Wash., aimed at using technology to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings on our campus. The paper was authored in collaboration with Accenture and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

    What we learned from the pilot program (and which is detailed in the paper) is that Microsoft (and by extension, many organizations with real estate portfolios) don’t need to undertake capital-intensive retrofits to cut building energy costs. Instead, we saw buildings become dramatically more efficient by introducing software to harness and utilize the building systems already in use. By integrating powerful analytics that add intelligence to existing building infrastructure, our buildings got smarter, more efficient and less costly to operate.

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  • Microsoft, Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Richard Burr Convene Roundtable on Veterans and Unemployment

    Posted by Brad Smith
    Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Microsoft

    Today, I joined U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Richard Burr in Washington, D.C. to co-host a veterans roundtable, where we brought together veterans, veteran services organizations and nonprofit organizations to discuss the challenges veterans face returning to the workforce and learn how the public and private sector can work together to give them the opportunities they deserve.

    The economic downturn has been particularly hard on the men and women returning from serving our country in the armed forces. The unemployment rate for post 9/11-era veterans has averaged 11.6 percent over the past year – significantly higher than their non-veteran counterparts.

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  • Digital Crimes Consortium 2011: Turning the Tables against Cybercrime

    Posted by Bill Harmon
    Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

    A recent report shows the global cost of cybercrime is greater than the combined effect on the global economy of trafficking in marijuana, heroin and cocaine. That staggering statistic underscores the need for the industry, academic community and law enforcement – those working to combat cybercrime – to come together to share ideas and strategize on ways to fight the threat and make the online world safer for everyone.

    That’s one of the reasons the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit hosts the Digital Crimes Consortium (DCC), an annual, week-long conference that provides a rare opportunity for hundreds of law enforcement officials and members of the technology security community from around the world to come together to discuss and demonstrate the latest issues facing disruption and enforcement efforts involving cybercrime worldwide. This year’s event has included 340 attendees from 33 countries around the world. The topics covered at DCC are wide ranging, including everything from analyzing targeted attacks to industry efforts, like recent botnet takedowns, and new threats like mobile malware and security challenges posed by the cloud.

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  • Steve Ballmer Statement on Passage of the Colombia, South Korea and Panama Free Trade Agreements

    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had the following statement in the wake of Congressional passage of the Colombia, South Korea and Panama Free Trade Agreements:

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  • Microsoft Continues the Consumer Privacy Dialogue on Capitol Hill

    Posted by Mike Hintze
    Associate General Counsel, Microsoft

    Congress’ interest in privacy continued Wednesday at a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. I appreciated the opportunity to share with the committee Microsoft’s perspectives on the important issue being discussed, “Understanding Consumer Attitudes About Privacy.”

    As I told Chairman Bono Mack and the other members of the committee, the diverse products and services through which Microsoft engages with consumers gives us a unique perspective.

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  • Microsoft Voices Support for Passage of Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia & Panama

    Posted by Fred Humphries
    Vice President of Government Affairs, Microsoft

    The passage this week of the bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between the U.S. and South Korea, Colombia and Panama puts America one step further on the path towards economic growth and propels the U.S. back into the international trade arena.

    The agreements provide Americans with new market access opportunities for U.S. exports of goods and services while implementing new rules and disciplines in key areas such as intellectual property and regulatory due process – issues that are essential to innovation.

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  • A Conversation with Gov. Mitt Romney on Trade and Intellectual Property

    Posted by Fred Humphries
    Vice President of Government Affairs, Microsoft

    Microsoft PAC (MSPAC) welcomed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to our Redmond, Wash. campus today.

    Since its founding in 1998, our employee political action committee has invited political leaders, policymakers, popular authors, celebrities and others representing a wide range of views to speak to Microsoft employees. The nearly 4,000 Microsoft employees who have joined MSPAC have expressed strong interest not only in hearing from those who are closest to important contemporary matters, but in sharing their own ideas. MSPAC provides this ongoing forum for discussion, engagement and education.

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  • Closing the Justice Gap in America Through Pro Bono Legal Counsel

    Posted by Brad Smith
    Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Microsoft

    Editor’s Note: On Oct. 13th, Brad Smith was recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change” – a weekly White House initiative to highlight Americans making an impact in their communities. Last week, “Champions of Change”  featured lawyers dedicated to closing the justice gap in America. The original version of this blog post was published on the White House Blog.

    Each year as I see litigation first-hand around the world, I come away with even greater appreciation for courts in the United States. No system is perfect, including our own. But when I walk through the doors of an American courthouse, I have more confidence in the legal rules and fair-mindedness that await me than anywhere else.

    There is one catch, however.

    There’s cause for confidence only if you’re represented by a lawyer.

    For a company like Microsoft, that’s obviously not an issue. But for many people, the cost of legal representation lies beyond their financial reach.

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  • Microsoft on National Cyber Security Month: Everyone Must Do Their Part

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in the U.S. and around the world. This year's official launch is taking place in Ypsilanti, Michigan to coincide with the Michigan Cyber Summit 2011.

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, other state officials, and I shared the stage just a few hours ago kicking off NCSAM 2011. I represented Microsoft, as well as the Board of Directors of the National Cyber Security Alliance, who are long-time sponsors of NCSAM and an important public-private partnership of which Microsoft is a founding member.

    This year's NCSAM theme, “Our Shared Responsibility,” refers to the ongoing work each of us can do to help secure our own piece of cyberspace—because when it comes to making the Internet safer, no individual, corporation or government entity is solely responsible. Moreover, individual acts and omissions can have a combined impact.

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  • House Task Force Provides Framework for Legislative Action on Cyber Security

    Posted by Scott Charney
    Corporate Vice President, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft

    This week, the House Cyber Security Task Force, chaired by Rep. Thornberry, released its recommendations and report to help guide legislative action on cybersecurity. The Task Force recommendations represent another key milestone in our combined private and public sector efforts to address the cybersecurity challenges of the Information Age.

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  • Microsoft and Washington State Task Force Take Steps to Strengthen Higher Education

    Posted by Brad Smith
    Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Microsoft

    Recently, I had the opportunity to share at the annual conference of the Washington State Academy of Sciences some lessons learned from my experience serving as the chair of Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Higher Education Funding Task Force earlier this year. And as legislators prepare to return to yet another budget crisis awaiting them in Olympia, I thought it might be useful to share those lessons on this blog as well.

    In Washington, our state’s master plan for higher education calls on our colleges and universities to grow enrollments by 27 percent over the next seven years. But few believe we will meet this need with a higher education system funded by below-market tuition and eroding state support. Conventional wisdom has held that this problem is too intractable to fix, both from a financial and political perspective.

    But during the 2011 legislative session, by coming together, identifying a common goal, meeting with each other and working together on a plan to realize that goal, the business community, our public university presidents, the alumni community, education groups, legislators and the Governor were able to achieve something remarkable.

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  • Friends Oversharing Online? Call it "Digital T.M.I."

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    We've all encountered them: people who after five minutes of meeting feel compelled to tell you the vivid details of their relationship woes, family traumas or financial hardships. In one-to-one or small-group settings, such conversations make us uneasy at best. More likely, they leave us itching to slink away and find less of a "drama queen" to chat with.

    But, when this kind of oversharing takes place online, the consequences can be far more serious. One solution:  shout “Digital T.M.I."—Too Much Information. You’ll probably save other recipients discomfort, and you may even help to stave off graver repercussions for the sender.

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  • Microsoft Shines a Light on Corporate Transparency in Politics

    Posted by Dan Bross
    Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft

    Yesterday, I was pleased to participate in The Conference Board’s 2011 Symposium on Political Spending to discuss the principles and policies that guide Microsoft when we make political contributions.

    We recognize that our company, our stakeholders (employees, shareholders and partners) and civil society as a whole, are all greatly impacted by the decisions of elected officials. As a result, we believe that constructive engagement in the political process on behalf of shareholders’ interest is an important element of good corporate citizenship. In the United States, this includes making political contributions.

    Microsoft is recognized as one of a handful of corporate leaders in this area.

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  • Microsoft Employees Raise the Bar with Fast Start to This Month’s Giving Campaign

    Posted by Brad Smith
    Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Microsoft

    Employee charitable giving at Microsoft takes place all year round. But October is a special time for us here at the company, when our offices across the United States are transformed by the hundreds of giving events that make up our annual Giving Campaign.

    In 2010, Microsoft employees across the U.S. volunteered their time, expertise and resources to community organizations, raising more than $96 million (with corporate matching) that benefitted over 16,000 community organizations. At the mid-point of this year’s giving campaign, I’m proud to say that we are on pace to beat last year’s impressive donation amount.

    Our month-long giving campaign is just one of many ways that Microsoft gives back to the community, and it’s also a heck of a lot of fun.

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  • Microsoft Releases New Index Gauging Online Behaviors

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing (TwC) Group is today announcing a new tool to help gauge how consumers are meeting the challenges of today’s digital world. Microsoft’s Computing Safety Index (MCSI) is the product of research recently conducted in five countries: Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the U.S. It examines people’s behaviors relating to online safety, resulting in an overall score.

    Broken out into three tiers of scoring levels, the 2011 average score for this benchmark study across all five geographies was 34 out of a possible 100. This year’s U.S. Index was 37, which lands in the mid-scoring range of 20-79 scores, suggesting that people have the online-safety basics covered, but opportunities exist to learn and do more, particularly against new and emerging risks in the social realm. (Specific results for the other four countries will be released to coincide with international Safer Internet Day 2012 in early February.)

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  • Microsoft Sponsors Speaker Series on Global Internet Freedom

    Posted by Dan Bross
    Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft

    Yesterday in Washington, D.C., The George Washington University Law School kicked off its “Global Internet Freedom and Human Rights Distinguished Speaker Series,” which presents a range of timely topics addressing critically important areas of free speech and civil liberties.

    Microsoft is sponsoring the series as part of our ongoing work to advance freedom of expression, privacy and human rights, and our belief in the importance of the “rule of law” in finding sustainable solutions for this issue. Our work with GW Law in this area also includes support for the law school’s litigation before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights later this year in a case aimed at finding justice for a reporter who was abused and forced into exile by the government of Colombia in 1996.

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  • World Teachers’ Day: Nothing Can Substitute for a Good Teacher

    Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post written by Irina Bokova, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.)

    Nothing can substitute for a good teacher. All major accomplishments begin with a teacher. Anyone able to read this text will remember a teacher who was a role model, who helped them become who they are.

    Girls still make up the majority of children who are not in schools. I am especially concerned by this fact. This is an issue of human dignity, of health, of well-being, of fundamental freedoms. This has an impact across generations. When an anxious mother is unable to read what is written on the medication she gives to her children because she is illiterate, the human rights of all are violated.

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