Microsoft Challenges Industry to Advance the Spirit of the ADA Through Technology

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 25, 2000 — Today during a 10th anniversary celebration of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Microsoft Corp.’s director of federal government affairs, Jack Krumholtz, challenged the high-tech industry to make technology easier for people with disabilities to use. The event, held today at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, welcomed the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Spirit of the ADA Torch Relay to Washington, D.C. During the celebration, Krumholtz applauded the progress made by the ADA, pointing out that the high-tech industry is at a crucial juncture to ensure that the new virtual world created by technology offers the same opportunities made possible by the ADA.

“Microsoft believes that accessible technology is intrinsically tied to the true power and spirit of the ADA and can be a key component in enabling Americans with disabilities to achieve success today — and especially tomorrow,”
Krumholtz said.
“As a technology company, we’ve seen firsthand how advances in technology have made a strong impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities, within Microsoft and elsewhere.”

He added that there is a great opportunity for the high-tech industry to provide leadership and innovation while pursuing the goals established by the ADA by working together to ensure that people with disabilities have easy and consistent access to all technology.

The ADA was passed in 1990 as a sweeping mandate to end discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations, transportation, telecommunications, and state and local governments.

“The ADA’s first 10 years should be recognized for the widespread changes in physical access and accommodations for Americans with disabilities in the built environment,”
said Deborah Kaplan, executive director, World Institute on Disability.
“The next 10 years should extend these improvements into the virtual world. Accessible technology can ensure that people with disabilities have the opportunity for advancement in the future, as the world becomes more and more digital.”

At today’s event, Microsoft called for increased involvement to help create technology that will virtually eliminate all limitations most people with disabilities face at work and home. Like many other high-tech companies, Microsoft has worked with corporate customers and disability community advocates over the years to help them better accommodate workers with disabilities and their career development. For example, the Able to Work Consortium, which was co-founded by Microsoft and the National Business & Disability Council, currently has 21 companies from around North America working together to address the real employment issues faced by people with disabilities.

About the Accessible Technology Group

The Accessible Technology Group oversees Microsoft’s accessibility efforts and helps the company succeed in its commitment to develop products, technologies and services that are accessible and usable by all people. With over a decade of experience and dedication, Microsoft continues to work with the software and hardware industries in addressing the needs of people with disabilities.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
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