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 Brad Smith & Horacio GutierrezExecutive Vice President & General Counsel and Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
July 18 marked the effective date for the International Trade Commission’s order excluding from the U.S. market Motorola’s Android devices that implement Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology. In addition, Microsoft has secured two injunctions against Motorola devices in Germany for its infringement of other Microsoft patents.
Over the last few weeks, with the imminence of the ITC exclusion order, Google mounted a public relations and lobbying campaign deflecting attention from its refusal to honor its promise to standards bodies to license standards-essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, a practice that has prompted regulators on both sides of the Atlantic to investigate its conduct. Unfortunately, we have no reason to believe that Google’s diversionary tactics will cease any time soon, and in fact expect more of them in the future.
Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel and Senior Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 – the PROTECT IP Act. We support the goals and approach of this important legislation, and urge the committee to report it.
The PROTECT IP Act is aimed at providing new tools to challenge the proliferation of “rogue sites” -- Internet sites that are dedicated to infringing content or counterfeit goods. It would establish both governmental and private rights of action in an effort to address what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates to be a multi-billion dollar a year problem that threatens U.S. creators and innovators, places U.S. consumers at risk, harms our economy and costs American jobs.
Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
As 2012 draws to a close, we’re starting to see a number of “year-in-review” pieces recapping key developments in the tech industry over the past 12 months. One item that I think deserves to be near the top of these year-end lists is an issue to which we and others have been paying especially close attention.
We continue to strive to put privacy first for our customers, while recognizing that providing consumers with more choice and control of their privacy requires strong collaboration with a number of stakeholders. We often have a unique perspective in these discussions: We have billions of paying customers, as well as a thriving advertising business.
We’re looking ahead to 2013 to continue our efforts to put our customers front and center with respect to privacy, while also working with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), consumer groups, the advertising industry, and government officials to seek a clear path forward. But first, let’s look at some of the progress made this year, and what future success could look like.
Posted by John FrankVice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government is reviewing allegations that Microsoft business partners in three countries may have engaged in illegal activity, and if they did, whether Microsoft played any role in these alleged incidents.
We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously, and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries. Like other large companies with operations around the world, we sometimes receive allegations about potential misconduct by employees or business partners, and we investigate them fully, regardless of the source. We also invest heavily in proactive training, compliance systems, monitoring and audits to ensure our business operations around the world meet the highest legal and ethical standards.
The matters raised in the Wall Street Journal are important, and it is appropriate that both Microsoft and the government review them. It is also important to remember that it is not unusual for such reviews to find that an allegation was without merit. (The WSJ reported earlier this week that an allegation has been made against the WSJ itself, and that, after a thorough investigation, its lawyers have been unable to determine that there was any wrongdoing).