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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
February 18, 2009 at 5:31 AM

Microsoft news roundup: Obama’s antitrust nominee calls Microsoft ‘so last century’; Google sued for starving ‘nascent competition’

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the antitrust division at the U.S. Department of Justice isn’t interested in Microsoft, according to comments she made last summer. “For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem,” Christine Varney said during a June 19 American Antitrust Institute panel discussion, according to Bloomberg. The U.S. economy will “continually see a problem — potentially with Google” because it already “has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising,” she said.


Comments | More in Advertising, Google, Public policy & issues, Search

February 9, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Microsoft among several software vendors providing sustainability tools

Here’s an annotated version of today’s print story on software vendors adding tools to track energy and environmental data to their business software:

With businesses scrambling to reduce their energy use — both to save costs and limit their carbon footprint — Microsoft and other software vendors are building tools that make tracking environmental data easier.

Today, Microsoft is releasing a free add-on to its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for midsized businesses.


Comments | More in Energy technology, Public policy & issues, Strategy

February 6, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Ballmer tells congressional Dems how Gates worried about making payroll in the early days; gives view of economy, “culture of spending”; calls stimulus package “vital”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave his take on the economy during the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus Retreat in Williamsburg, Va., today. He also shared this anecdote about Microsoft’s early days and Bill Gates worries about being able to make the payroll.

When Ballmer first started at Microsoft, he lived with Gates because “we didn’t have the budget to put people up in hotels,” according to a transcript of the speech posted on Microsoft’s “On The Issues” blog. (I’ve condensed a great deal of the speech, which I found particularly relevant and interesting, in this post.)

“And every time I sat down, in every corner, nook and cranny of couches, tables, I’d find these little yellow pieces of paper with Bill’s writing that had a bunch of people’s names and companies’ names and numbers,” Ballmer said.


Comments | More in Public policy & issues, Steve Ballmer, Tech Economy

February 4, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Gates releases mosquitoes at tech confab, Web has field day

Steve Jurvetson/flickr An image of Gates at TED, captured by venture capitalist Steve Jurveston with a Blackberry and posted on flickr. I’m trying to verify this with the press office of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but if the reports streaming in from Twitter are to be believed Bill Gates just released…


Comments | More in Bill Gates, Gates Foundation, Personalities, Philanthropy, Public policy & issues

February 3, 2009 at 5:29 AM

Report: IBM offering to relocate laid off workers to India, China, Brazil

InformationWeek, citing an internal document, reports that IBM is helping recently laid off workers find positions with the company overseas. From the document:

“IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand. Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move.”


Comments | More in China, Coming and going, Compensation, Employee benefits, India, Public policy & issues, Tech Economy

February 2, 2009 at 6:12 AM

Microsoft lobbied Obama transition team on high-skilled immigration weeks before announcing layoffs

Microsoft urged the government to “remove caps that bar entry into the U.S. by high-skilled immigrants,” about three weeks before announcing its first companywide layoff, according to a report in BusinessWeek.

The request, part of a policy brief written in June 2008 and posted to the Obama-Biden Transition Project Web site in early January, does not represent a new stance for the company, which has long lobbied for changes in U.S. immigration policy around high-skilled workers. But its posting on the new administration’s transition Web site came at a sensitive time, against the backdrop of layoffs — which hit a “significant number” of guest workers at the company — and pressure on Microsoft by Sen. Chuck Grassley to retain U.S. citizens over similarly qualified guest workers.

The Obama Administration’s transition Web site is no longer active, but here’s a PDF (2 pages) of the brief, which also asks for changes in the student visa policy to encourage foreign students educated here to stay and an increase in green cards.


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

January 23, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Senator wants Microsoft to preserve American jobs over those of foreign guest workers

Update after the jump.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Thursday expressing concern over how the company may go about its layoffs.

“I am concerned that Microsoft will be retaining foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American employees when it implements its layoff plan,” Grassley said in the letter, posted to his Web site.

The company announced plans to cut a net 2,000 to 3,000 jobs Thursday, its first companywide layoff.


Comments | More in Microsoft layoffs, Public policy & issues

January 13, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Microsoft, Cisco, Intel backing effort to create 21st century skills curriculum for schools globally

Microsoft is teaming with Cisco and Intel to back the creation of a 21st century curriculum. The companies are funding a project to explore better ways of teaching and evaluating students in critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, communication and other broad areas — skills that they demand from their employees, said Anoop Gupta, who heads Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program.


Comments | More in Education, Intel, Public policy & issues

December 18, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Microsoft named top U.S. company for community investment in survey of peers

Microsoft has been recognized by a survey of major corporations as doing the best job of investing in its community. The survey was part of a study published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

The study was presented with a broader report on the relationship between business and their communities. Seattle was one of eight cities where the report held forums with business leaders, providing a not-too-surprising list of threats to innovation: education, “the Seattle process,” and transportation. Read on for more details.


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

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