Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Earlier today, I participated in an event on Capitol Hill about the U.S. patent system and software patents sponsored by BSA│The Software Alliance and the National Association of Manufacturers. Panelists included representatives of tech companies, manufacturers, and start-ups, and it was interesting to see the extent to which all of us innovate in software and rely on the patent system to incentivize and protect those innovations. This is not surprising: we live in a digital world. Many things that used to be done mechanically or via hardware – such as throttle control systems – are now implemented in software.
Recent studies from the Department of Commerce and the Brookings Institution show that patents drive job creation, productivity, and economic growth today. Given the benefits of the patent system, it is important to ensure that it functions well. As I mentioned in my remarks today, there is no question that the U.S. patent system has tremendous strengths but also significant weaknesses. All of us – private companies, the USPTO, Congress and the courts – share responsibility for taking steps to improve the operation of the patent system. From Microsoft’s perspective, the key opportunities relate to increasing transparency, curbing litigation abuse, and improving patent quality. Specific reforms we support include:
Posted by Lisa BrummelChief People Officer, Microsoft
In October of last year, we marked the 30th Employee Giving Campaign and celebrated a major milestone: $1 billion in cash raised by U.S. employees and our company match for more than 31,000 global nonprofit and community organizations since the start of the campaign in 1983.
Four months later, we’ve tallied the result for 2012 alone and we’re proud to share that the Employee Giving Program raised $105 million last year for 18,755 unique nonprofit and community organizations in the United States and around the world.
Microsoft’s Employee Giving Program is one of the largest in the world. Its impact is local and global, and real. At its heart stands our employees’ dedication to their communities, near and far. Time and again, I am impressed by the impactful stories they have shared with me, such as the employee who established the North Dakota Autism Center (NDAC), focused on bringing services to families affected by autism in the areas in and around Fargo. The center’s mission is clear: to help children affected by autism spectrum disorder (AUD) realize their full potential through excellence in care, therapy, instruction and support.
Posted by Frank McCoskerGeneral Manager, Global Strategic Accounts
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”. The language of our thoughts and our emotions is our most valuable asset.
Source: Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2012
Today one of our partners, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrates International Mother Language Day, which aims to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the urgency of the situation and what Microsoft is doing to promote the use of mother tongue languages while also making technology more accessible for speakers of those languages.
With the launch of Windows 8, we have added 13 extra languages to our range of Language Interface Packs (LIPs), bringing the total number of languages supported by Windows 8 and Office 365 to 108. Downloadable free of charge, LIPs enable the user to install a local language version as a "skin" on top of an existing installation of the Windows operating system and standard Microsoft Office system applications. Promoting access to mother languages is crucial to ensuring the survival of people’s common, living heritage. It is linguistic and cultural ties that strengthen communities and promote cohesion.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Today the Obama Administration unveiled a new initiative addressing an issue that is critical to American business, including the software industry: trade secret theft. In today’s globally connected word, trade secrets and confidential information are increasingly subject to the threats of international espionage and intellectual property theft. Microsoft was pleased last year when President Obama signed the Theft of Trade Secrets Act of 2012 into law, which clarified the protection provided by existing law, but more can be done.
Posted by Paul Garnett, Director, Technology Policy Group and Louis Otieno, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, Africa Initiatives, Microsoft.
Despite our increasingly interconnected world, many people are still unable to access the benefits provided by technology. In Kenya, only 2% of Kenyans subscribe to broadband services, as defined by the Communications Commissions Kenya. In many countries in Africa, even fewer are connected. This digital divide is perpetuated by business models, technologies, and regulatory frameworks not suited for delivering low-cost, high-quality broadband access.
To help address this challenge, Microsoft has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that presents a framework of cooperation with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications and industry partner Indigo, a Kenyan Internet Service Provider (ISP). Through this framework of cooperation and as part of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, we installed and today launched a project that is delivering low-cost, high-speed wireless broadband access to locations previously unserved by even basic electricity.
The technology making the project possible is called dynamic spectrum access, which enables wireless devices to opportunistically tap into unused radio spectrum to establish broadband connections. The project in Kenya utilizes TV white spaces, the unused portions of wireless spectrum in the television frequency band, as well as solar-powered base stations. TV white spaces are particularly well-suited for a range of applications from better in-home networks to rural broadband, to hotspot access and mobile traffic offload to machine-to-machine applications. As television has begun to switch from analog to digital around the world, even more of this spectrum can be used to fulfill those needs.
Download this video
Download this video