Microsoft Opens Innovation Centre Supporting European Union Research Priorities

AACHEN, Germany, April 26, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. officially opened the European Microsoft Innovation Centre (EMIC) today in Aachen, Germany. The facility, located in a leading European technology region, serves as the focal point for Microsoft’s European collaborative applied research and development efforts. Microsoft scientists and engineers at EMIC, in conjunction with academia and industry partners, will take part in applied research projects, such as those sponsored by the European Commission (EC), national research programs and national governments in Europe.

EMIC was created to participate in European research and development, which responds to the EC’s call for additional private investment to reach the goal of the Lisbon agenda: to become the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010.

“Information technology and innovation are essential to achieving the EC’s Lisbon objectives, and we embrace the opportunity to collaborate with public and private organizations across Europe in pursuit of these shared goals,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, CEO of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “The EMIC facility demonstrates our passion for innovation and desire to contribute to the research and development priorities of panregional, national and local governments.”

EMIC applied research falls into three areas — Web services, security and privacy technologies, and wireless technologies — focused on three platforms: enterprise computing, embedded devices and the extended home. The collaborative nature of EMIC’s work will allow Microsoft to share its technology expertise and to learn from and develop stronger relationships with technology partners, universities and governments in Europe.

“The establishment of EMIC in Aachen strengthens a long-standing relationship between Microsoft and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia,” said Peer Steinbrck, the minister president of North Rhine-Westphalia. “After less than one year, EMIC has already made great strides in the research and development of future technologies for the European market, thus contributing to the reputation of our region as a European technology hub.”

EMIC is already participating in a number of EC co-funded projects, involving Web services for e-health and e-learning, security and privacy, and networking technologies. EMIC is also exploring opportunities for collaborative research through national governments, including the German government. Current projects include the following:

  • Cocoon will help healthcare professionals reduce risk in their daily practices. The project aims to create knowledge-driven and dynamically adaptive networked communities within European healthcare systems and provide an innovative tool set for risk management.

  • The European Learning Grid Infrastructure (E-LeGI) project has the ambitious goal of developing advanced software solutions for effective human learning, based on Web services technology.

  • TrustCom aims to develop an infrastructure for fruitful interorganizational relationships, incorporating trust, security and contract management technologies. TrustCom will make possible ad-hoc integration of systems across organizational boundaries.

  • FIDIS seeks to develop a deeper understanding of how identities and identity management can create a more fair information society in Europe. The desired outcome will establish standards and best practices, with applications in public architecture, related research, and law and information and communication technology (ICT) applications.

These large-scale, multidisciplinary projects involve a wide variety of participants throughout Europe, including industry partners such as Atos Origin, BAE Systems, BT Exact, SAP AG, Siemens Informatica S.P.A and Telecom Italia; universities such as the University of Aachen (RWTH), the University of Stuttgart and Politecnico di Milano; and regional governments such as those of Lombardia, Italy, and Region Aquitaine, France. The collective efforts will ultimately transfer into products that resolve high-priority issues for citizens and businesses in Europe.

“Alliances with global companies such as Microsoft are indispensable if we want to drive innovation in Germany,” said Willi Berchtold, chairman of the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunication and New Media (BITKOM). “EMIC’s concept of developing future technologies within the scope of European research partnerships is compelling. It will offer new opportunities for large-scale as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. By establishing EMIC in Aachen, Microsoft is helping foster innovation and the development of ICT talent in Germany.”

The EMIC team — 12 employees increasing to 20 in coming months — includes scientists and engineers from seven European countries. The team is led by Pierre-Yves Saintoyant, who has more than 25 years of experience in research, teaching and technical consulting. Most recently, Saintoyant was responsible for Microsoft Research’s university relations in Europe; before that, he was founding director of Microsoft Consulting Services in France. Saintoyant is the author of numerous papers on information systems strategies and management. His last book, “Strategie Intranet,” was published in 1998.

EMIC expands Microsoft research and development into a new area — applied research for collaborative, public-sector programs — under the executive sponsorship of Chief Technical Officer Craig Mundie. EMIC complements Microsoft’s existing research and development centers in Europe: fundamental research at Microsoft Research Cambridge, United Kingdom; software development at the Vedbaek, Denmark, facility; and product localization at the European Product Development Centre in Dublin, Ireland.

Worldwide, Microsoft is investing 20 percent of its revenue in research and development — a figure unmatched in the technology industry — which is projected to be US$6.8 billion in 2004. Microsoft takes a long-term view, investing not only in product development but more broadly in fundamental and applied research across the full spectrum of computer science and software engineering.

About Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)

Microsoft has operated in EMEA since 1982. It employs more than 12,000 people in over 55 subsidiaries, delivering products and services in more than 139 countries and territories.

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