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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 18, 2006 at 2:15 PM

Ballmer: Go Vikings

Microsoft Senior Vice President David Cole is apparently in pretty good standing at Microsoft, despite his online business division’s struggles to catch up with Google and Yahoo! and his plans to take a leave of absence this month.


MARK HARRISON/THE SEATTLE TIMES

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Western Washington University Business Forum.

After Cole asked Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to speak at a forum being held by Cole’s alma mater, Western Washington University, Ballmer jumped at the chance to help out an employee who worked on some of Microsoft’s most important products over the past 21 years.

Ballmer recounted the meeting with Cole today, during his speech at Western’s Business Forum at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center:

“I have no affiliation but I love you, baby, so I love Western Washington,” Ballmer said he told Cole.

Later in the speech Ballmer talked up the need for the state to continue investing in higher education. He also touched on immigration reform, saying Microsoft needs to be able to recruit smart people all over the world and bring them to work in Redmond.

Even though Microsoft is hiring people in India and China, “the lion’s share” of its employees will remain here, Ballmer said, pointing to a factoid the company dug up for China President Hu Jintao’s visit: Microsoft currently has 2,000 Chinese-speaking employees in the Puget Sound area.

Comments | More in | Topics: Education, Public policy

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