Microsoft Hires Akhtar Badshah as Senior Director of Community Affairs

REDMOND, Wash., March 18, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the addition of Akhtar Badshah as senior director of Community Affairs; in this role he will manage the company’s global community investment and employee programs. Badshah brings more than 22 years of experience as an internationally recognized development expert.

Badshah will manage Microsoft®
Unlimited Potential, one of the company’s global initiatives to promote digital inclusion and increased access to technology skills training in underserved communities. Drawing on his extensive background in information and communication technologies (ICT) for development, Badshah will work closely with nonprofit organizations, governments and businesses in the United States and around the world to administer the program.

Badshah also will oversee programs aimed at helping nonprofit organizations improve their effectiveness through increased technology capacity. This will include Microsoft’s signature relationships with organizations such as NPower and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“Technology has the power to be a great equalizer in the pursuit of economic and social prosperity,” Badshah said. “But for the millions who lack access to digital resources and skills training, this vision remains unrealized. Microsoft has committed a significant amount of resources and expertise to initiatives promoting digital inclusion, and I look forward to building upon the company’s efforts.”

Before joining Microsoft, Badshah was the CEO and president of Digital Partners Foundation, a Seattle-area nonprofit organization whose mission is to utilize the digital economy to benefit the poor. At Digital Partners, he established the organization’s core programs in India, Africa and Latin America. His work includes development of the Digital Partners Social Venture Fund, designed to support the expansion of IT-based anti-poverty efforts around the world, and the Digital Partners Social Enterprise Laboratory (SEL), an initiative that provides mentorship and seed money to entrepreneurs whose vision and business models use ICT to empower the poor and their underserved communities.

“Akhtar is a remarkable community leader who has worked effectively and tirelessly to ensure that the fruits of the Information Age are more equitably distributed across the globe,” said Louis Fox, vice provost at the University of Washington. “The combination of his talents and Microsoft’s platform are ideal, and will undoubtedly generate even greater opportunities for success in these endeavors.”

“Akhtar’s passion for using technology to aid social and economic development aligns perfectly with the goals of our community investment programs,” said Pamela Passman, managing director of Global Corporate Affairs at Microsoft. “His extensive experience in the development field is highly regarded, and we’re honored to have him lead our efforts.”

A doctoral graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Badshah serves on the Advisory Board for the Development Gateway Project of the World Bank, World Links India, World Corp., Teachers Without Borders and Datamation Foundation India. He has co-edited “Connected for Development — Information Kiosks for Sustainability,” and authored “Our Urban Future: New Paradigms for Equity and Sustainability” and several articles in international journals on megacities and sustainability, urban and community development, and housing.

About Microsoft Unlimited Potential

Microsoft Unlimited Potential is a global program that focuses on improving lifelong learning for underserved young people and adults by providing technology skills through community-based organizations around the world. Microsoft provides community centers with funding to launch or sustain IT skills training programs, including hiring and training technology instructors and expanding course offerings to reach a broader base of community members. Microsoft has developed curricula that emphasize real-world technology applications, which will be available in multiple languages. In the near future, Microsoft will work with partners to launch a global support network to deliver technology research, tools and services to training centers worldwide. Since May 2003, the company has made grants of cash and software totaling nearly $50 million to more than 150 programs in 45 countries.

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