Posted by Dave HeinerVice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Two years ago, Microsoft applauded the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission when they opened their antitrust investigations into Google’s business practices. We believed then, as we do now, that the future of competition in search is at stake in these investigations. This is important not just for Microsoft, but for the thousands of smaller companies whose businesses depend on a competitive search marketplace. That is why so many companies have made their concerns about Google’s misconduct known to regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.
The European Commission has stated publicly that Google must address four areas of concern regarding its business practices, or else it will face enforcement action. We understand that the European Commission and Google are working toward a binding, enforceable legal order that would address these competition law concerns.
The FTC took steps today to address some of Google’s improper business practices. We find it troubling that the agency did not adhere to its own standard procedures that call for the agency to obtain industry input on proposed relief and secure it through an enforceable consent decree. The FTC’s overall resolution of this matter is weak and—frankly—unusual. We are concerned that the FTC may not have obtained adequate relief even on the few subjects that Google has agreed to address.
For years Google has publicly championed the virtues of “data portability”—the idea that customers ought to be able to use their own data in products from various companies. But in practice, Google effectively prohibited its primary paying customers (advertisers) from using data about their own advertising campaigns on any ad platform other than Google’s. That made it much more difficult and costly for advertisers (especially small advertisers) to run their ad campaigns on Bing and other ad platforms.
Posted by Jacqueline BeauchereDirector, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft
It’s no surprise that kids today are growing up online. They use mobile devices to do their homework, play games, connect with friends, and access the wealth of information available on the Web. Technology gives children access to a host of positive, educational and growth experiences; yet, parents face challenges when they look to monitor what children see online, the people they meet and the information they share.
At Microsoft, we want to help parents create a healthy computing environment for their kids. That’s why we set out to hear from parents about what matters most to them in helping young people stay safer online.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
Earlier today, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith gave the closing keynote address at the 41st Annual Economic Forecast Conference. Presented by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County, and attended by leaders across the public and private sectors, the conference provided insight into future economic trends and forecasts, as well as opportunities and challenges that surround the technology industry.
Brad spoke to the urgent issue facing the technology sector not just in Washington state, but across the country – the need for more qualified talent in computer science and STEM fields. He called for a stronger focus in improving access to quality STEM curricula and faster implementation of the new national math and science standards in K-12. Brad pointed out that of 42,000 high schools in the U.S., only 2,103 offered the AP computer science course. Narrow this down to Washington and the reality is just as grim, out about 770 high schools in the state, only 35 offered the AP computer science course. He also stressed the importance for higher education to increase their STEM related capacity enabling more students to access and complete high demand degrees and credentials.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a monthly series from Microsoft called “The View from Washington State”. The View from Washington State provides insight and commentary on topics and trends of importance to technology, education, corporate citizenship and public policy in Washington State.
Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Several months ago, in the other Washington, I had the opportunity to discuss the country’s need for new ideas to address the current shortage of engineers and computer scientists. Among other things, I called for coupling an increase in H1B visas and green cards with higher fees to obtain those credentials for their employees. These fees would provide billions of dollars over the next decade to invest in improving K-12 and higher education here in the U.S., to ensure that American students in U.S. schools are better prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.
The idea is gaining bipartisan support in our nation’s capital and its adoption would provide short- and long-term benefits.
It would immediately help employers like Microsoft hire the people it needs today. We currently have more than 6,000 open job opportunities, more than half of which are for computer scientists and engineers. Giving employers who are finding it increasingly hard to fill the jobs they create access to more talent, will provide an immediate shot in the arm to the national economy. Put simply, if Felix Hernandez is available, you want to be able to sign him for your team.
Over the longer term, the resulting investments in STEM education will help ensure that more of our nation’s young people fully benefit from the exciting career opportunities being created by the innovation economy.
But at the same time, we here in Washington state must commit ourselves to implementing equally important efforts to address this skills shortage.