Posted by Tim FieldenAssistant General Counsel, Microsoft
Microsoft, like other businesses, relies on user agreements that we ask consumers to read and accept before using our products and services. We revise and update these agreements over time. This post discusses a change we have begun making as we update user agreements across our consumer products and services.
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 Dave HeinerVice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
The FTC took steps today to address some of Google’s improper business practices. We find it troubling that the agency did not adhere to its own standard procedures that call for the agency to obtain industry input on proposed relief and secure it through an enforceable consent decree. The FTC’s overall resolution of this matter is weak and—frankly—unusual. We are concerned that the FTC may not have obtained adequate relief even on the few subjects that Google has agreed to address.
For years Google has publicly championed the virtues of “data portability”—the idea that customers ought to be able to use their own data in products from various companies. But in practice, Google effectively prohibited its primary paying customers (advertisers) from using data about their own advertising campaigns on any ad platform other than Google’s. That made it much more difficult and costly for advertisers (especially small advertisers) to run their ad campaigns on Bing and other ad platforms.
Posted by Jeff JonesDirector, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft
Computing is now an essential part of our everyday lives. The Internet today reaches a global population of more than two billion people – providing a range of critical services to more citizens around the world than ever before. We are using a greater variety of devices and managing data in unique ways to communicate and share information with others and conduct business online. However, a range of players are focusing their energies on misusing and attacking an increasingly networked environment through a variety of complex cyber threats that raise new challenges for citizens on the Internet.
Commonly available cyber defenses such as firewalls, antivirus software and automatic updates for security patches help reduce the risk from threats, but they are not enough. Industry and governments have begun efforts to help protect consumers against online threats. This collective work to build safer computing experiences online is very important and should continue. We must try to prevent computer infections before they happen, before data can be lost and identities stolen. This effort requires a collaborative approach among key members across the IT ecosystem. We are better together.
This has been an important week for immigration reform efforts in Congress. Reflecting the rising recognition that our country wins when we invite the world's best minds into the American community, two important new bills were introduced in the Senate. These bills would put into action the words that have become a growing chorus in the immigration policy debate: It makes no sense to educate top students from around the globe in our universities, only to send them – and their brainpower and U.S. training – off to compete with us from abroad.
This week, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century, or "STAR" Act. This bill would reallocate 55,000 immigrant visas per year to those who have earned a master's degree or a Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (the STEM fields) from a U.S. university. Also this week, we saw the bipartisan introduction of the Sustaining our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology (SMART) Jobs Act of 2012, by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.)