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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

Category: Public policy & issues
December 23, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Ireland weighs in on Microsoft email privacy case

The roster of folks speaking up about Microsoft’s closely watched data privacy court case now includes a government.

Ireland on Tuesday filed court papers backing elements of Microsoft’s appeal of a U.S. court order that the company turn over emails stored in a Dublin data center.

The case stems from a warrant a U.S. judge signed last December ordering Microsoft to turn over the contents of an email account. Microsoft challenged the order, arguing that because the underlying email data was stored in a data center in Ireland, U.S. prosecutors lacked the power to demand those documents.

The government, Microsoft said, should instead ask Irish officials for help retrieving the data under the terms of an existing legal assistance treaty.

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Comments | More in Public policy & issues | Topics: microsoft, privacy

June 22, 2009 at 10:40 AM

“Microsoft subsidy bill” passes in WA state for children of H-1B visa holders

My Seattle Times colleague Lornet Turnbull wrote a story today about a “Microsoft subsidy bill” that the Washington state legislature passed granting in-state tuition rates for children of foreign professionals. It was dubbed the Microsoft subsidy bill because most of the beneficiaries are children of Microsoft workers who came to Washington state under H-1B visas. According…

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Comments | More in Employees, India, Microsoft, Public policy & issues, Recruiting

March 31, 2009 at 7:14 AM

Programming note: Microsoft health plan to be featured on Frontline

Microsoft’s gold-plated health insurance plan will be featured during PBS’ news magazine “Frontline” tonight at 9 p.m. on KCTS channel 9. The episode, “Sick Around America,” focuses on the broken U.S. health care system and how rising unemployment is leaving more people without coverage. Microsoft appears to be included as an example of American health…

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Comments | More in Employee benefits, Public policy & issues

March 25, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Q&A: Microsoft chief strategist Craig Mundie on global competition, government IT

Craig Mundie, Microsoft chief research and strategy officer, said Americans seeking to update their technology skills should look to the nation’s community colleges for training.

Mundie took a break from the company’s Government Leaders Forum — Americas on Wednesday to talk with me about global competitiveness, the government IT spending environment, prospects for cloud computing in government IT portfolios and more.

Earlier in the day, Mundie talked to the gathering of Latin American governors and ministerial-level leaders about using technology to improve health care and education. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to address the group, meeting in Leesburg, Va., on Thursday.

Here are edited excerpts from my talk with Mundie:

Q: You remarked on the idea that technology has been a great global leveler, contributing to developing nations’ transition from industrial and agricultural economies to knowledge-based economies. What’s available for people in this country who are facing layoffs now and want to compete on that global playing field that technology creates?

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Comments | More in Cloud computing, Data centers, Education, Public policy & issues, Security & privacy, Strategy, Tech Economy

March 17, 2009 at 11:08 AM

Computer science enrollment rebounds nationally and at UW

After reading yesterday’s New York Times report on increasing enrollment in the nation’s computer science programs, I pinged Ed Lazowska at the University of Washington to see what’s happening there.

“Our numbers are in fact much stronger than the national numbers,” he said via e-mail, introducing the chart below, which plots rolling enrollment in the UW’s introductory computer science course over the last four and a half years. (Incidentally, the data was compiled earlier this year at the request of Google.)

UWCSE enrollment.JPG

Lazowska added this perspective on the UW’s undergraduate programs:

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Comments | More in Employees, Public policy & issues, Recruiting, Tech Economy

March 3, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Microsoft responds to Sen. Grassley on layoffs, H-1Bs

Microsoft this morning posted a letter to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, responding to his Jan. 23 request for information on the company’s work force and plans in light of its first major layoffs. The lengthy letter, signed by General Counsel Brad Smith, repeats much of what Microsoft has said publicly — layoffs will be centered in the Puget Sound, both U.S. citizens and immigrants are among those losing jobs — but also includes several new nuggets. Read the whole letter here. I’ll post a summary in a few minutes. [Update, 5:06 p.m.: Fixing link to the full letter and noting Grassley’s response, in a statement to various news outlets: “I’m still left without much information about how Microsoft is ensuring American workers are being protected or specifics of its H-1B hiring practices. I’m interested in learning more details.”]

Update, 10:47 a.m.: Microsoft plans to keep proportion of H-1Bs stable after layoffs. Read on for more details.

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Comments | More in Microsoft layoffs, Public policy & issues

February 23, 2009 at 5:15 AM

Microsoft news roundup: New work force training program; Severance benefits overpaid; More than half of Xbox 360 users pay for Live subscription

Microsoft on Sunday launched Elevate America, a multi-part work force training effort starting in partnership with three states, including Washington. The program, billed as an expansion of existing job-training efforts, “provides immediate support in response to the current economic crisis,” the company said in a statement. Starting immediately, job seekers can learn what skills they need for technology jobs and how to get them at a new Web site that starts with the basics, such as sending e-mail, and moves up to specific Microsoft programs. The three-year effort also includes vouchers for access to the company’s eLearning courses and selected certification exams. See this story by my Seattle Times colleague Linda Shaw for more details.

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Comments | More in Compensation, Employee benefits, News roundup, Public policy & issues, Xbox 360

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