Herbold Discusses IT Policy Issues at Upside Summit ’98

Microsoft Executive Vice President Bob Herbold today spoke at the Upside Summit ’98 conference in Washington, D.C. on the vitality and competitiveness of America’s information technology industry, and the policy issues that the industry must address as it plays an increasingly important role in the economy and society.

Herbold, who also is Microsoft’s chief operating officer, noted that the software industry is thriving and leading a major portion of America’s economic growth. The number of software companies nearly doubled to 44,000 between 1990 and 1996, Herbold noted, while the IT industry has generated 25 percent of the nation’s real economic growth in each of the last five years.

At the same time, Herbold said, low barriers to entry and tremendous competitiveness create opportunities for entrepreneurs and benefits for the consumer. “A $900 computer and a good idea will get you started,” he said. “In this industry, there’s so much change and competition that no one has a guaranteed position.”

Herbold talked about the values that drive Microsoft:

  • A passion for how technology can improve people’s lives

  • Listening to customers and using their ideas to improve products

  • Working hard to innovate and investing in the future

  • Partnering with other technology companies that share a vision of high performance, affordable computing

  • Working toward greater efficiency internally

He also talked about the important principle Microsoft is working to protect in its court case with the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The core principle is the freedom to enhance products to benefit consumers,”
he said.
“The U.S. Court of Appeals strongly affirmed this principle in its June 1998 decision, and we are optimistic that this principle will prevail in the current case.”

Finally, Herbold spoke about the important issues on which the IT industry needs to work together: intellectual property protection, immigration, encryption, trade and market access, electronic commerce and privacy. With the government taking an increasing interest in these issues, the industry needs to seek common ground so that they are addressed in a proactive manner that is in the best interests of the public, the industry and the government.

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