Posted by Dave HeinerVice President & Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Standards & Antitrust Group, Microsoft
Earlier today, Microsoft filed a formal competition law complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Motorola Mobility and Google. We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products. Their offense? These products enable people to view videos on the Web and to connect wirelessly to the Internet using industry standards.
You probably take for granted that you can view videos on your smartphone, tablet, PC, or DVD/Blu-ray player and connect to the Internet without being tied to a cable. That works because the industry came together years ago to define common technical standards that every firm can use to build compatible products for video and Wi-Fi. Motorola and all the other firms that contributed to these standards also made a promise to one another: that if they had any patents essential to the standards, they would make their patents available on fair and reasonable terms, and would not use them to block competitors from shipping their products.
Motorola has broken its promise. Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course.
Posted by Brendon LynchChief Privacy Officer, Microsoft
Accountability has been a globally recognized principle of privacy and data protection for more than three decades. But in the past few years, an important effort has been under way to clearly delineate what accountability—and the related concept of responsibility—means for organizations that collect, store and process information.
To help advance this critical conversation, today we are publishing an accountability-based analysis of Microsoft’s privacy program. We are releasing the paper to coincide with meetings at the European Parliament in Brussels this week of The Accountability Project co-hosted by the Centre for Information Policy Leadership and the European Data Protection Supervisor as part of a global Accountability Project.
Posted by Dave HeinerVice President & Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Standards Group & Antitrust Group, Microsoft
Earlier today, Microsoft posted a statement concerning our commitment to industry standards. The statement sets forth Microsoft’s long-standing approach to patents that are essential to industry standards: we license them to other firms. We don’t seek to block other firms from shipping products on the basis of these patents. Our approach is shared by Apple, Cisco and many others in the industry.
Why are “standards essential patents” so important to the industry and to consumers?
You may not realize it, but anytime you use the Internet, your cell phone or a computer, you are benefitting from international technical standards. Watching a video? You’re probably using a standard called H.264. Connected to a wireless network? You’re using another standard called 802.11. These and other standards enable a wide variety of devices and websites to work well with one another. In fact, the whole Internet is built on standards like these.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Earlier this week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released information on its Proposed Patent Fee Schedule. In announcing the Proposed Fee Schedule, Director David Kappos noted that the key principles of the proposed fee schedule are to ensure a more sustainable funding model for the USPTO, and to reduce the backlog of unexamined patent applications and decrease patent application pendency. The USPTO is holding public hearings later this month and inviting feedback and public input on the proposed fee schedule to guide it in making adjustments. A final proposed fee schedule is anticipated in June 2012, which will open a 60-day public comment period to submit written input directly to the Office.
Microsoft strongly supports the ongoing efforts of the USPTO to improve patent examination quality, and enhance the efficiency and operations of the Office.
Posted by Rob SinclairChief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft
In January 2002, Bill Gates sent a memo launching Trustworthy Computing (TwC) and calling upon Microsoft and the industry to prioritize security and privacy as part of software design. As a program manager on the Accessibility team at the time, I observed that a similar approach for accessibility, when taken during the design phase, had a dramatic effect on the quality of the user experience for people with disabilities. The TwC memo inspired the Accessibility team to explore how to better integrate into Microsoft’s software development lifecycle. In 2008, the accessibility team was moved into TwC to join their peers in security and privacy, and began developing a centralized engagement model for accessibility.