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 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.
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 Lauren WoodmanGeneral Manager, Partners in Learning, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft
Today is UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day, and as we celebrate language diversity, we have a chance to reflect on the role Microsoft plays in the preservation of language and culture.
Our goal for more than 30 years has been to bring technology into the hands of more citizens around the world. However, with 7 billion people in the world speaking countless various languages, bringing technology to all their homes is a challenge, but one that Microsoft’s Local Language Program is working hard to surmount.
The Local Language Program focuses on developing and tailoring Microsoft products to grant minority language speakers similar access to technology as someone speaking a mainstream language. Consider Spain, a country with more than 47 million citizens and five languages. Seventy-four percent of the population speaks Castilian Spanish, but 26 percent speak Valencian, Basque, Catalan or Galician. In a modern world ripe with technology, these precious languages – symbols of culture and heritage – could be lost forever.
Editor’s Note: This post by Brad Smith, Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft, originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
If you had visited one of Microsoft’s locations in the United States during October you might have found an employee’s office filled with pink flamingos. For a small sum donated to a nonprofit of their choice — and matched by Microsoft — an employee can have their co-worker’s office “flocked” with plastic pink flamingos. It’s one of hundreds of creative fundraising activities that make up our employee giving campaign at Microsoft. The 2011 campaign was our largest year of employee giving since the program began in 1983, with $100.5 million donated and matched for community organizations and nonprofits.
It should be no surprise that a company founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen has a deep culture of employee giving. Even so, we continue to be thrilled by the new records being set by Microsoft employees in giving their time, energy and resources; it never ceases to amaze me. The $100.5 million donated by Microsoft employees in the United States with corporate matching is an increase over the $96 million raised in 2010. Since 1983, our employees have now donated more than $946 million to community organizations around the globe.