Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Beginning next week – on April 1 – employers can start filing applications for H-1B visas for skilled workers that they are looking to hire to fill open jobs here in the U.S. Many of these potential workers are foreign-born students about to graduate in science, technology, engineering and math from U.S. universities, and are in demand to fill critical jobs in the U.S. economy.
Each year, there are only 85,000 H-1B visas available for highly skilled individuals – 65,000 visas under the regular “cap” and 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
This year, many employers and highly skilled potential workers are facing April 1 with increased anxiety since the U.S. government again expects all the H-1B visas for the upcoming fiscal year to be snatched up in the first week.
Last month at an event on Capitol Hill, Microsoft pledged to put information on the Web that would enable anyone to determine for which patents we are the real party in interest.
As I mentioned in my blog post about the event, transparency regarding patent ownership is an important part of a well-functioning patent system. One of the fundamental objectives of the patent system is to provide notice regarding inventions – not only the nature of what has been invented but who owns the patent.
Washington State can create and fill 160,000 new jobs and reduce its unemployment rate by up to two percentage points over the next five years by closing the gap between the skills employers need and the skills possessed by potential employees. Doing so would also generate $720 million in additional state tax revenues and $80 million more in local tax revenues annually; and save $350 million in state unemployment costs.
That’s the conclusion reached in “Great Jobs Within Our Reach: Solving the Problem of Washington State’s Growing Jobs Skills Gap,” an important new study conducted by Boston Consulting Group in conjunction with the Washington Roundtable.
A great deal of attention, both locally and nationally, has been paid to this skills gap since the start of the recession – so much, in fact, that we sometimes risk losing sight of the magnitude of the opportunity and challenge we face.
Editor's Note: The following is a guest post from Susan Athey, a Professor of Economics at Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a long-time Microsoft consultant.
Search engines are a technological marvel: In milliseconds, they can bring order to the vastness of the Internet. In fact, it’s estimated that about two billion people turn to a search engine on a regular basis to find their way around the Web.
As this technology has evolved, search engines have become more than simply virtual answer desks. Today they have become “commerce platforms,” pointing people to the products and services they seek by connecting potential customers to a growing number of online business.
But what happens if a search engine decides to place links to its own products and services at the top of the search results page, crowding out results identified by its algorithm as the best?
Today, we are releasing our 2012 Law Enforcement Requests Report. This is our first Law Enforcement Requests Report. It provides data on the number of requests we received from law enforcement agencies around the world relating to Microsoft online and cloud services and how we responded to those requests. All of our major online services are covered in this report, including, for example, Hotmail, Outlook.com; SkyDrive; Xbox LIVE; Microsoft Account; and Office 365. We’re also making available similar data relating to Skype, which Microsoft acquired in October 2011.
We will update this report every six months.
In recent months, there has been broadening public interest in how often law enforcement agencies request customer data from technology companies and how our industry responds to these requests. Google, Twitter and others have made important and helpful contributions to this discussion by publishing some of their data. We’ve benefited from the opportunity to learn from them and their experience, and we seek to build further on the industry’s commitment to transparency by releasing our own data today.