October, 2013

  • Microsoft CTO for US Education Cameron Evans: Five bold steps for rebooting schools

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    Cameron Evans, Microsoft chief technology officer for U.S. Education, has an opinion piece in the latest edition of Education Week. In the piece, he discusses five bold steps for personalizing student learning and better preparing future workforces for success.

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  • Microsoft Employee Giving Campaign enhanced to raise next billion for nonprofits

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    Last year, Microsoft marked a significant moment for the Employee Giving Program. It was the 30th Employee Giving Campaign and the company reached a milestone of $1 billion raised for more than 31,000 nonprofits over those three decades (inclusive of corporate match).

    However – as Microsoft Chief People Officer Lisa Brummel noted in a post on Wednesday over on The Official Microsoft Blog, “We’re not done.”

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  • New cybersecurity report details risk of running unsupported software

    Posted by Tim Rains
    Director, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft

    On Tuesday, Trustworthy Computing released volume 15 of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, which provides threat intelligence and analysis of cyber threats in over 100 countries/regions worldwide.

    Among the numerous key findings in the new report, one of the more interesting things to surface was the increased risk of using unsupported software. The report found that in the first half of 2013, nearly 17 percent of computers worldwide that run Microsoft real-time security products encountered malware that tried to get on or stay on those systems, but Microsoft anti-malware products blocked this from happening.

    What’s interesting is the difference between encountering malware and actually being infected by it. During the first half of 2013, currently supported versions of Windows desktop operating systems (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8) all had roughly similar malware encounter rates – between 12 and 20 percent. But Windows XP systems had an infection rate that was six times higher than Windows 8.

    SIRv15 Image 1

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  • Microsoft announces new agreements in support of African startups

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Thursday at DEMO Africa, Microsoft announced a new commitment to support startups under the 4Afrika banner by entering into cooperation agreements with innovation hubs CcHub in Nigeria, DTBi in Tanzania and AfriLabs – a pan-African hub network spanning Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.

    Through these agreements, Microsoft gives their communities access to Microsoft BizSpark memberships for startups, business networking, capital investment opportunities, events and workshops on the latest Microsoft technologies for developers and the 4Afrika Internship and Volunteer programs, providing access to Microsoft mentors and experts as additional resources.

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  • Making the UN Guiding Principles real for corporate lawyers

    The following is a guest post from John G. Ruggie, Chair of Shift, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, and Affiliated Professor in International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.

    Several thousand lawyers, in formal business attire and carrying briefcases, descended upon Boston’s Copley Square for the annual conference of the International Bar Association last week. In the air was talk about how the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which I authored—unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011—apply to law firms as business enterprises, with their own responsibility to respect human rights.

    This was the subject of my presentation at a dinner on Thursday evening across the river in Cambridge, jointly organized by Dan Bross of Microsoft and John Sherman of Shift – the non-profit, independent center of expertise on business and human rights started by former members of my team, whose board I chair. The dinner, hosted by Microsoft, was attended by a mix of in-house corporate legal officers, representatives of several national bar associations, outside legal counsel and other legal organizations.

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  • Widening our ‘Gateway to the Pacific’

    Posted by Brad Smith
    General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    With 40 percent of all jobs in Washington state tied to trade, the Seattle region has long been described as “A Gateway to the Pacific.” That idea was at the forefront of conversation as business, civic and government leaders gathered last night for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Leadership Conference. I had the opportunity to address the audience about our region’s future.

    I spoke about Puget Sound visionaries such as Thomas Mercer, whose 1854 vision of a canal to connect Puget Sound with Lake Washington and start to create a union of east and west – North America with the Pacific and with Asia – would become reality two generations later.


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  • Microsoft supports USPTO’s continued efforts to improve patent system

    Posted by Horacio Gutierrez
    Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    On Thursday in California, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is holding its Software Partnership meeting to discuss ways to clarify the language of software patents, similar to what we and others have recommended. Standard terms and glossaries can improve the quality of patent examination, benefitting patent holders and the patent system. We are pleased to be participating in that meeting and look forward to its outcomes.

    We are also announcing our plan to provide electronic access to Microsoft’s prior art today.

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  • Microsoft, American Psychological Association team up on Skype in the classroom lessons on mental health

    Posted by Fred Humphries
    Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

    At the White House Conference on Mental Health earlier this year, President Obama urged Americans to focus on ways we can all work together to increase awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma often associated with seeking mental health care.

    In response to the White House call for action, Microsoft and the American Psychological Association (APA) are partnering to create a series of Skype in the classroom lessons for elementary and secondary school students.

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  • Microsoft announces new Student Advantage program to prepare students for tomorrow’s jobs

    Posted by Anthony Salcito
    Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft

    I'm thrilled to announce a new benefit designed to empower students worldwide with the technological skills they need to compete in today’s (and tomorrow’s) workforce: it's called Student Advantage.

    Beginning Dec. 1, any academic institution that licenses Office for staff and faculty can provide Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost. Student Advantage makes it easy for qualifying institutions to provide students with the latest version of full Office at school and at home. Combined with Office 365 for Education plan A2, which is free for schools, Student Advantage gives students access to the same set of world-class productivity tools and services used by Fortune 500 companies all over the world.

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  • IDC study reveals skills today’s students need to succeed in tomorrow’s unimagined world

    Posted by Cameron Evans
    U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft Education

    On Tuesday, Microsoft released findings from an IDC study we commissioned to gain a better understanding of how we can contribute towards well-prepared students. The study identifies the skills and competencies that will be highly valued by employers now and through the year 2020.

    I often reflect on the careers that exist today, that weren’t even an idea when I was in primary and secondary school. My role at Microsoft is not something my elementary and secondary teachers could have prepared me for and yet, they did. So why is there a gap between the expectations of employers and the preparation of this generation’s youngest minds?

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  • How old is too young to go online?

    Posted by Kim Sanchez
    Director, Online Safety, Microsoft

    To give, or not to give your child access to the Internet isn’t the question. For many parents, the question is, when? As a parent of two young children, I too have struggled with when to give my kids their first phone, tablet and gaming devices.

    Almost all parents, 94 percent, allow their kids to use at least one online service or device, according to a new Microsoft survey, “How Old is Too Young To Go Online.” The poll asked, at what age would consumers allow children unsupervised access to technologies such as mobile devices, social sites and online services. In addition, respondents were asked at what age they would talk to children about online risks.

    The answer: eight years old is the average age at which parents allow independent Internet and device use, according to the survey from Microsoft.

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  • Microsoft joins Code.org ‘Hour of Code’ initiative

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    In a post over on The Official Microsoft Blog on Monday, Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith announced Microsoft has joined Code.org, a nationwide campaign urging schools, teachers and parents across the country to participate in the “Hour of Code” Initiative.

    Held during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9 to Dec. 15), this initiative will help introduce more than 10 million students to computer programming and the exciting careers of the future.

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  • Microsoft supports continuing work toward a Do Not Track standard

    Posted by Brendon Lynch
    Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft

    Our customers expect strong privacy protections to be built into Microsoft technologies, so we make privacy a priority. Our inclusion of Do Not Track (DNT) in Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 11 is an example of how we strive to meet these expectations.

    We believe DNT holds potential to help people better manage their privacy online. However, until stakeholders collectively agree on what DNT means and how websites should respond to the DNT signal, its promise will not be fully realized. Microsoft has been steadfastly committed to and engaged in the W3C's Tracking Protection Working Group’s efforts to define a DNT standard. Developing standards that work across an entire industry is often difficult, but the benefits make the effort worthwhile.

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  • Microsoft forms new 4Afrika Advisory Council

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Oct. 4, Microsoft announced the formation of a new 4Afrika Advisory Council in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

    The new council’s main mission is to ensure that the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative always remains relevant for Africans and does in fact help the continent become and remain globally competitive for the benefit of the African people.

    The 4Afrika Initiative is an effort through which the company will actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness.

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  • Microsoft releases Annual Citizenship report for fiscal year 2013

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Monday, Microsoft released the 2013 Citizenship Report, which describes our citizenship work in support of our company’s mission during the last fiscal year and shares our vision for what’s to come.

    Together with our annual financial report, which was also released Monday, it provides a full accounting of our fiscal and citizenship priorities and performance.

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  • Microsoft and the Alliance for Affordable Internet work to drive down broadband costs, enable universal access

    Posted by Paul Garnett
    Director, Technology Policy Group, Microsoft

    Technology is playing an increasingly critical role in overcoming barriers for social and economic development around the world, for a diverse range of applications in education, healthcare, business, delivery of government services and others.

    However, a wide gap remains between those who have access to technology and those who don’t. While 77 percent of the developed world is online, that number drops to 31 percent in the developing world. This disparity is partly due to prohibitively high broadband costs. At Microsoft, we are committed to bridging the digital divide through innovative technology solutions to provide universal broadband access to improve local communities.

    This week, I’m in Abuja attending the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation’s Annual Forum, where I’m pleased to announce our membership in the newly formed Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). A4AI is a global coalition of key leaders from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors from developed and developing countries committed to improving broadband access in less developed countries by driving down costs.

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  • Microsoft releases best practices for developing a national strategy for cybersecurity

    Posted by Paul Nicholas & Cristin Goodwin
    Senior Director, Global Security & Diplomacy, Microsoft and Senior Attorney, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    On Friday, Microsoft released a new white paper entitled Developing a National Strategy for Cybersecurity: Foundations for Security, Growth, and Innovation. This publication is based on lessons learned from customers and governments around the world, and is intended to aid governmental efforts to develop national cybersecurity strategies that set a clear direction to establish and improve cybersecurity for government, academia, enterprises, consumers and the ICT companies who serve those communities.

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  • Microsoft engages economists and academics on immigration reform in D.C.

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Tuesday, Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C. convened leading economists and academics for an engaging discussion on the economic imperative for immigration reform.

    Panelists participated in a wide ranging conversation focused on the economic consequences of delaying action on immigration reform, as well as the potential to boost job growth and strengthen American competitiveness.

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