Posted by Karen JonesVice President & Deputy General Counsel, HR Legal, Microsoft
Yesterday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it had reached the statutory cap for H-1B specialty occupation petitions for fiscal year 2013, giving us a stark reminder of the continuing obstacles created by our country’s current framework for high skilled immigration.
This comes at a time when the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the unemployment rate for computer and math occupations at just 3.5 percent – reflecting the growing shortage of U.S. workers with these skills. Reaching the annual allotment of H-1B visas only 10 weeks after the application filing period opened disrupts U.S. business and stifles growth at a critical time in our nation’s economic recovery by shutting down the hiring of global talent for the next 10 months.
Posted by John FrankVice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
This afternoon we are publishing additional information about the volume of law enforcement and national security orders served on Microsoft. For the first time, we are permitted to include the total volume of national security orders, which may include FISA orders, in this reporting. We are still not permitted to confirm whether we have received any FISA orders, but if we were to have received any they would now be included in our aggregate volumes.
Earlier this week, along with others in the industry, we called for greater transparency about the volume and scope of the national security orders, including FISA orders, which require the disclosure of some customer content. We believe this would help the community understand and debate these important issues. Since then, we have worked with the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice to try and secure permission to do this.
This afternoon, the FBI and DOJ have given us permission to publish some additional data, and we are publishing it straight away. However, we continue to believe that what we are permitted to publish continues to fall short of what is needed to help the community understand and debate these issues.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
Intellectual Asset Management Magazine recently published a feature story entitled “A revolution launched on the back of IP” which highlights the role intellectual property played in helping to bring Kinect for Xbox 360 to market. Reporter Jack Ellis spoke to members of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business and Intellectual Property Group to understand how the two groups partnered together early on in the development process to protect innovations. The article profiles some of the big moments in time for patents, copyright and trademark around Kinect for Xbox 360.
We invited Jack to join us for a brief question and answer session to talk a little about why he was interested in reporting on this story, how he thinks IP professionals should view the current IP landscape and what some of the big priorities for IP leaders are in the year ahead.
Posted by Hernan RinconPresident, Microsoft Latin America
Governments all over the world are struggling with how to lower unemployment rates and improve the economy. In many countries, young people make up a significant portion of the unemployed, which not only impacts current economic recovery, but casts a shadow on the future. For example, according to “Opportunity for Action,” a report recently released by the International Youth Foundation (IYF), in Latin America, youth unemployment is nearly three times that of adults. These young people, aged 15 to 29, are the foundation for our future, and we must do all that we can to stabilize and fortify this foundation.
This week at Microsoft’s annual Government Leaders Forum Americas, the company is drawing attention to the growing challenge of unemployment for youth in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Thursday’s keynote, delivered by my colleague Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs, spoke to the issue and detailed Microsoft’s commitment to creating opportunities for youth in the region through various initiatives, programs and partnerships.
Posted by Dan BrossSenior Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft
Much attention during this election cycle has been focused on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. The impact of Citizens United and a range of other issues – including the role of corporations in our political process here in the U.S., was the focus of a conference I spoke at last week in Washington, D.C. sponsored by The Conference Board.
As with most things related to the upcoming 2012 elections, there was spirited debate and discussion on a range of topics related to corporate governance, accountability, transparency and disclosure. Surprisingly, these topics too are being cast by some as right/left issues. Good corporate governance isn’t a left wing plot or a right wing gambit, it’s just smart economic and civic policy.