Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
As 2012 draws to a close, we’re starting to see a number of “year-in-review” pieces recapping key developments in the tech industry over the past 12 months. One item that I think deserves to be near the top of these year-end lists is an issue to which we and others have been paying especially close attention.
We continue to strive to put privacy first for our customers, while recognizing that providing consumers with more choice and control of their privacy requires strong collaboration with a number of stakeholders. We often have a unique perspective in these discussions: We have billions of paying customers, as well as a thriving advertising business.
We’re looking ahead to 2013 to continue our efforts to put our customers front and center with respect to privacy, while also working with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), consumer groups, the advertising industry, and government officials to seek a clear path forward. But first, let’s look at some of the progress made this year, and what future success could look like.
Posted by Dennis GannonDirector of Cloud Research Strategy, Microsoft Research
Over the past two years, we have seen growing interest from the scientific community in using public clouds for research. As part of the original Cloud Research Engagement Initiative in 2010, Microsoft partnered with funding agencies all over the world to award more than 75 research teams for projects using Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud. The research covers topics in computer science, biology, physics, chemistry, social science, geology, ecology, meteorology and drug discovery. More details about these projects can be found here.
From an informal survey of these projects, we learned researchers value the concept of using an on-demand, scalable compute resource over acquiring, deploying and managing a dedicated resource. Ninety percent of these researchers were pleased with their ROI using cloud services to build their application and would use cloud resources again. Of course, this sample is biased. These researchers are, for the most part, the leading edge risk takers and early adopters.
Posted by Anthony SalcitoVice President of Worldwide Education, Microsoft
One of the profound privileges of my job is that, every year around this same time, we host the Partners in Learning Global forum – this is the Olympics of innovative education. All of the participants (nearly 500 educators from more than 80 countries) are remarkable, but it gave me chills Saturday night as I watched a teacher from Pakistan – a woman named Munazza Riaz – take the stage and receive the equivalent of the gold medal for education. She beamed as she held up the flag of her nation.
Consider the enormous challenges and obstacles Munazza must have overcome to reach this moment. And yet, she is just one teacher – an island of excellence amidst an ocean of schools who don’t have these opportunities – due to lack of training and lack of digital access. There is a lot of talk these days about the cloud. While the cloud offers enormous promise, the reality is that, without access, that promise is empty. In countries like Haiti and throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, 90 percent of rural schools have no electricity. Without power, digital access is a non-starter. And the opportunity divide for young people widens every day.
Posted by Frank McCoskerGeneral Manager, International Organizations (IO), Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector
Persons with disabilities make up 1 billion of the world’s population, yet they face challenges in equal opportunity and access to society in critical areas like education, employment, healthcare, transportation, information communications technology and justice. Every year on Dec. 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we recognize the importance of providing this underserved community with equal access opportunities and livelihoods. This year’s theme is “removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all” – an area in which technology plays an important role.
Our company was founded on the belief that putting technology in the hands of individuals could enrich and improve their lives, and, for many years, Microsoft has been dedicated to providing persons with disabilities access to technology they can use.
On this day, Microsoft pays tribute to the contribution our United Nations partners are making toward addressing accessibility issues through innovative technology initiatives.
Posted by Bart EppenauerChief Patent Counsel, Microsoft
Each year, the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation presents its Annual National Inventor of the Year Award to individuals that contribute significantly to the practice of Intellectual Property. The Award recognizes “Outstanding Achievement in the Fields of Innovation, Creativity, and IP Rights” and fosters the spirit of American innovation and highlights the protection offered to inventors by the patent system. This year, its 39th year, the Foundation honored Alex Kipman of Microsoft for the invention of Kinect, a breakthrough motion sensing input device developed for the Xbox 360 video game system and Windows PCs at a ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
I had a chance to sit down with Alex on the eve of the award ceremony and talk with him about intellectual property, the role it plays in his organization at Microsoft, the “Kinect Effect” and some of the cool things we might expect to see in the future.