Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and U.S. Sen. Lauch Faircloth Laud Economic Impact and Innovative Efforts Of High-Tech Industry in North Carolina

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 14, 1998 —
Microsoft Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Gates and U.S. Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-N.C.) today applauded efforts by the North Carolina high-tech community to stimulate the state’s economic growth. They toured one of the largest domestic Microsoft® Product Support Services (PSS) facilities outside of the company’s corporate global headquarters in Redmond, Wash. During the visit, Gates and Faircloth saw how customer support calls are managed using Microsoft’s latest technological innovations and answered questions from Microsoft employees and partners.

High-tech jobs are among the highest paying in North Carolina’s economy – 80 percent higher than the average wage of employees in the state’s private industry. In 1997, 13 percent of total sales by the state’s new high-tech entrepreneurs were attributable to customers’ demands for Microsoft software. In addition, entrepreneurs’ ability to deliver innovative solutions using Microsoft packaged software generated sales of $939 million, wages of $320 million, and 6,600 jobs in the North Carolina economy.

“North Carolina is clearly a hub for high-tech companies,”
Gates said, after touring the site.
“We are pleased to be part of this community and plan to continue contributing to the economic growth of the state through jobs, training and community outreach.”

“Despite some storm clouds on the global horizon, high tech is a growth engine for the economy in North Carolina and the nation,”
Faircloth said.
“The industry is succeeding precisely because America allows its entrepreneurs the freedom to innovate. I’m proud to say that Microsoft is a shining example of the new North Carolina economy.”

PSS technical support groups provide assistance for 1,000 of Microsoft’s top enterprise accounts throughout the eastern region of the United States, as well as worldwide personal and home computing products for both the Microsoft Windows® operating system and the Macintosh platform. Employing more than 850 people today, the Charlotte site took its first telephone support call Sept. 30, 1990. The site currently handles over 21,000 calls a day and about 175,000 pieces of e-mail.

Microsoft’s community awareness efforts put more than $500,000 back into the Charlotte area last fiscal year. Among local outreach efforts, Microsoft volunteers have provided training and technical support to local libraries and have built computer labs in two different low-income disadvantaged neighborhoods. Employee and corporate commitment to community giving continues in North Carolina through collaborative projects with the Charlotte Symphony and the Libraries-On-Line and Connected Learning Community programs.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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