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 Dan ReedCorporate Vice President, Technology Policy Group, Microsoft
All of us have experienced the “spectrum crunch” when using our wireless devices. Dropped voice calls and slow data transfers are symptoms. The crunch is a consequence of both rising demand and spectrum management techniques and wireless radio technologies dating back almost one hundred years. We can’t manufacture more spectrum – it’s a finite natural resource – but we can manage it more nimbly and share it more efficiently than we have in the past, stimulating economic growth, business innovation and increased competition.
Unlicensed use of the TV band spectrum can help to achieve this reality. It will enable “super Wi-Fi,” spur rapid innovation, increase the bandwidth available to consumers, expand mobile data offload opportunities, increase hot spot coverage, and ensure greater broadband connectivity, especially in rural communities.
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 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.
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.