Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
This week, we have seen tremendous enthusiasm and excitement from more than 13 million students who are learning a new language. The language? Computer Science.
Across the country and around the world, students have been celebrating Computer Science Education Week by participating in Hour of Code events. In partnership with Code.org, Microsoft has been hosting Hour of Code programs at our retail stores and with our YouthSpark partners, witnessing the delight of students who are experiencing coding for the first time. This week, I had the opportunity to see this excitement firsthand when I met with students and teachers at Fairwood Elementary School in Renton, Wash. to present $10,000 in Code.org funding for tablets that will help students strengthen their computer science skills.
By 2042, the U.S. population is projected to be “majority minority," and no one race or ethnicity will any longer be the majority in America. While America increasingly reflects the extraordinarily diverse people and cultures from around the world, the legal profession does not.
Unless the legal profession makes faster progress, it will miss the dynamism and creativity that diversity brings to other fields. We risk failure in having a profession that is as diverse as the country we serve – a prerequisite for healthy legal service for a democracy.
Many lawyers are aware we have not kept pace with the nation. What is troubling is the lack of clarity about why this is happening. And until we know why, we are just guessing at the best ways to help build a more diverse legal profession.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
On Dec. 6, Microsoft, in partnership with The Atlantic and National Journal, hosted the first in a series of traveling town halls to explore the opportunities, inclinations and impact of the millennial generation as it faces an increasingly connected world and competitive workplace.
“A New America: How Millennials Are Sparking Change” combines the knowledge of seasoned leaders with the ambitions of young iconoclasts who are changing the world from the outside in. This first conversation took place at California State University in Los Angeles, featuring leading thought-leaders, educators, government officials, entrepreneurs and students.
Today, we are joining AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo in calling for reforms of government surveillance.
Since Microsoft was founded, we’ve believed technology is a powerful tool that can help people. In that belief we remain steadfast.
But we also recognize another important point. People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.
Last week we announced that we’re taking new steps to reduce the risk of government snooping. Today we’re joining with others across our industry to call on governments to adhere to specific principles with respect to surveillance.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezDeputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Thursday's overwhelming bipartisan House vote to pass the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) marks a significant milestone toward enactment of common-sense reforms to curb abusive patent litigation. Abusive patent lawsuits create a heavy burden on the U.S. economy — slowing innovation, undermining competitiveness and stunting economic growth.
H.R. 3309 addresses this urgent problem by striking a balance that deters bad actors while protecting intellectual property rights.
Posted by Frederick S. Humphries Jr.Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft
On Thursday, Microsoft joined a nationwide day of action to call for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). We are asking Congress to codify what courts and service providers across the U.S. are already doing: require all law enforcement to obtain a warrant before demanding access to the contents of customer communications or documents customers store in the cloud. Microsoft has long supported reform of ECPA, is an active member of the Digital Due Process Coalition, and has testified before Congress on the importance of striking a better balance between privacy and the needs of law enforcement.
Posted by Peter CullenGeneral Manager, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft
We live in an environment where the amount of data being generated is increasing at a staggering pace. With it we see a corresponding growth in the potential for important benefits, both to us as individuals and as a society, based on using this information.However, in this data-rich world it is becoming clear that today’s privacy frameworks cannot adequately protect consumer privacy; it has become critical that we evolve our thinking with respect to the ways societies protect the privacy of individuals while providing for responsible, beneficial data use.
Identifying frameworks that support the dual goals of privacy and responsible data use is the motivation for Microsoft’s collaboration with privacy stakeholders from around the world – across governments, private enterprise and civil society. Today, we are pleased to have been able to support the launch of two new white papers: “Data Protection Principles for the 21st Century” and “Data Use and Global Impact” which outline important new thinking on this topic.
Posted by John SeethoffDeputy General Counsel & Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
I want to thank the Microsoft’s shareholders who attended or voted at this year’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Nearly 84 percent of outstanding shares were voted. Microsoft shareholders:
• Elected nine directors to serve on the Board of Directors until the next annual meeting. All director nominees received more than 90 percent of votes cast.
• Approved the material terms of the performance goals under the Executive Officer Incentive Plan with more than 97 percent of votes cast.
Posted by Jon PalmerAssistant General Counsel, Microsoft
There’s one rarely discussed burden on today’s economy: businesses are forced to search and store massive amounts of documents on the off chance they may become evidence in court. The cost for this unnecessary exercise hits businesses of all sizes at a time when our focus should be freeing up capital to create jobs and generate growth. Today Microsoft is sharing data that shows just how wasteful the “discovery” process can be for business. By sharing this data, we join others who speak in favor of recently proposed updates that would modernize the rules and help eliminate waste.
Posted by Shinder DhillonSenior Global Diversity & Inclusion Director, Microsoft
On Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is considering ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international treaty that affirms the equality of all people, without exceptions, due to their abilities, and seeks to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities. The CRPD was adopted in 2006 and has been ratified by 137 countries. The U.S. has not yet taken that step toward ratification.
Microsoft is proud to support the ratification of the CRPD, and we are pleased to be a signatory on the U.S. Business Leadership Network’s (USBLN) letter encouraging ratification of the treaty. USBLN has a long-standing relationship with Microsoft, and is a strong advocate through its work promoting inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace.
Posted by Horacio GutierrezDeputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Congress took an important step on Wednesday to curb abusive litigation practices that are harming business owners, America’s economy and innovation.
The House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, and Microsoft is pleased to support it. We appreciate Chairman Goodlatte’s leadership and the hard work of the House Judiciary Committee in crafting patent-reform legislation that addresses abusive behavior while protecting innovation.
On Nov. 15, Microsoft Education Policy and Programs Director Allyson Knox testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade regarding the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the U.S.
The hearing, titled “Our Nation of Builders: Training the Builders of the Future,” included a panel of industry and policy experts examining the critical business need for workers trained in STEM fields to ensure continued U.S. innovation and economic growth.
Posted by Steve WiensEditor, Stories
Call them “the zombies next door.”
With terrifying speed and stealth, cybercriminals can infect millions of PCs with malware, turning them into a vicious zombie army mobilized to commit crimes like identity theft, financial fraud and worse.
Posted by Carrie FranceySenior Director of Sales, Marketing & Programs, Microsoft Learning Experience
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a partnership with the Washington State Library to bring Microsoft’s IT Academy online training to more than 385 libraries statewide. The industry-leading technology training will be available to Washingtonians to help prepare them for success in a global workplace that grows more tech-dependent each day.
Technology is everywhere, and one out of two jobs today requires some degree of technology skills. In less than 10 years, this number will increase to three out of every four jobs requiring IT skills. Meanwhile, among 18- to 34-year-olds who are employed, less than half say they have the education and training necessary to get ahead in their job or career, according to Pew Research Center.
Posted by Jacqueline BeauchereChief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft
We’re all very aware of people’s desires to be “safe” and “secure,” and to exist and engage in environments – both online and off – that are built on trust. To define these points as absolute states of being, however, is impractical and unrealistic. Rather, when it comes to life online, we should focus first on the almost-innumerable advantages of the Internet; realize the online world is not without risk, and then seek to minimize and manage identified risks accordingly.
Perhaps somewhat of an exercise in semantics, but the need for this distinction became abundantly clear at the 2013 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Bali, Indonesia, which took place from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25. I was observing a panel discussion entitled “Protection of the Most Vulnerable Children Online,” organized and moderated by Yuliya Morenets, Executive Director of the NGO Together Against Cybercrime and an associate professor at Strasbourg University.
On Thursday, Microsoft Vice President of Worldwide Education Anthony Salcito announced Microsoft’s 2014 Expert Educators and Mentor Schools.
“These exclusive, year-long programs were created to recognize educators and schools who are on the leading edge of education innovation, paving the way for their peers in the use of technology to improve learning and student outcomes,” Salcito wrote in a post over on the Microsoft in Education Blog. “Expert Educators were selected from over 22,000 educators in 158 countries, while Mentor Schools came from nearly 250 schools in 75 countries.”
This week, Michael Robinson, Microsoft’s vice president of U.S. Health and Life Sciences, participated in the U.S. News and World Report Hospital of Tomorrow Conference held in Washington, D.C.
The event gave Robinson the opportunity to connect with many leading hospital executives and health care visionaries to explore methods for tackling the range of challenges facing the health systems of today and those in the future.
On Tuesday, Robinson participated in the luncheon keynote session with Peter Slavin, M.D., President of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Shalom Jacobovitz, Chief Executive Officer of the American College of Cardiology. The panel’s moderator was Len Nichols, Ph.D., director and professor, Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics, George Mason University.
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.
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.”
Posted by Tim RainsDirector, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted by Fred HumphriesVice 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.