EDINBURGH, Scotland, Jan. 30, 2007 – Microsoft’s mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. The company works to fulfill this mission by developing innovative software that transforms the way people work, learn and communicate. Another way is by using its resources and expertise to help expand social and economic opportunities in communities around the world.
With approximately 500 million people currently using Microsoft Windows and 450 million people using Microsoft Office, the release of the next generation of these products, Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, will have widespread reach. Both products will have a positive impact on broad economic and societal issues — key among these is providing access to technology in a language that is familiar to users and which honors unique cultural distinctions.
Economists, governments and individual companies often cite innovation as the driving force behind economic growth and development. Using Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system will help people communicate and collaborate to drive business results. This will help Europe train its workforce to better compete in the 21st century, create industry opportunities and boost consumer choice.
To get an insider’s view of how Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system enhance security and online safety, demonstrate responsible business practices and grow the knowledge economy, PressPass spoke with Jean-Philippe Courtois, president, Microsoft International. Courtois leads sales, marketing and services for all regions outside the U.S. and Canada, and shares responsibility for Microsoft’s worldwide public sector team, directing the company’s engagement with governments around the globe.
Courtois, who places a high priority on spreading the benefits of technology for economic and social development, is attending the Government Leaders Forum Europe, an annual event that examines the citizen-government connections required to achieve European competitiveness and explore the role that information and communications technology plays in its success.
PressPass: How does Microsoft intend to help broaden access to technology to those who today don’t have access?
Courtois: One way we are expanding access to technology is through the localization of language. As part of our overall strategy to bring the benefits of technology to the broadest possible audience, we intend to make Windows Vista available in more than 100 languages.
A key component of those 100 languages is our Local Language Program (LLP), in which Microsoft partners with governments and local language specialists to develop interfaces in many languages. Through the LLP, we help enable minority language groups to participate more fully in the civic life of their communities and to benefit from the economic growth associated with the expanding global IT economy. For Windows Vista, we have developed 19 Language Interface Packs (LIPs), which will be available in Europe, reaching nearly 94 million people across the region in languages from Albanian to Welsh. Worldwide these programs reach nearly 2 billion people.
In addition, the new Caption for Local Interface Pack (CLIP) will be available in Scots Gaelic, Alsatian and Breton. The CLIP program is designed to include even more people in the growing technological world through smaller regional languages and dialects. Microsoft was founded on the vision of a PC on every desktop and in every home, and bringing the benefits of technology to the broadest possible audience is one of our key objectives.
PressPass: Please provide us with a real world example of how Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system can expand consumer choices and industry opportunities.
Courtois: Experience has shown that major releases of Windows result in vast industry growth. Windows Vista will be Microsoft’s largest operating system launch to date, driving software application development to new levels and supporting the growth of local software economies.
Microsoft’s customer and partner ecosystem has been preparing for the upcoming release for months. According to an IDC study released in Sept. 2006, Windows Vista will be installed on more than 30 million computers in six key European markets — Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK – in its first year of availability, and 105 million worldwide. This installed base will provide a market for application developers, systems integrators and other companies that produce, sell or distribute products or services running on Windows Vista. For example, FWBS is a UK-based document management company with extensive experience working with Microsoft and is leveraging both the new versions of Windows and Office to competitive advantage. And Meta4, from Spain, hopes to enter new markets with their Windows Vista-based human capital management solution that enables companies to access vital employee information online and offline.
Jean-Philippe Courtois, president, Microsoft International
PressPass: How have product innovations led to enhanced security and privacy across the globe?
Courtois: This is especially true when it comes to protecting children online and securing personal data. Windows Vista equips families with a new Parental Control tool to give parents choice, flexibility and ease of use in keeping their children safe online. For each child in the family, parents can customize rules that will filter Web content, block inappropriate games and even set time limits on PC use.
With Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system, Microsoft is creating a new level of confidence in the security and reliability of the personal computer. The system is designed, built and tested to enable you to do the things that you want to do, confident that your information and your computer are safer. Windows Vista security features help to protect against the latest generation of threats. Improved protections for Internet Explorer will help stop the threat of worms and viruses from being able to install software or hijack your computer. The Windows Vista e-mail client helps to address serious concerns such as spam and attachment viruses, while adding features to enable you to search and manage the increasingly large number of messages you receive.
PressPass: How will Microsoft Vista and the 2007 Office release drive jobs and growth around the world?
Courtois: This is where we can show the real impact of innovation on local software economies. Looking specifically at Europe, we have some extremely talented developers, and many of them are taking Windows Vista technology to new levels of innovation with their solutions, ultimately benefiting the citizens of Europe.
According to a 2006 IDC Economic Impact Study of 28 key European countries, Windows Vista will sustain more than 1.7 million jobs and stimulate innovation throughout the region. The study expects the new operating system will be a major driver of revenue and employment creation for more than 300,000 IT companies in 28 European markets. According to the study, for every euro of Microsoft revenue from Windows Vista in 2007 in this region as a whole, the ecosystem beyond Microsoft will reap almost 17 euros in revenues. In 2007, this ecosystem should sell about €58 billion (approximately US$70 billion) in products and services revolving around Windows Vista.
PressPass: How do Microsoft Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system fit into Microsoft’s vision for being a good corporate citizen?
Courtois: The release of Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system highlight a very exciting time for us at Microsoft. These products are real breakthroughs – in terms of their R&D investments, innovation and the value they’ll bring to businesses. At the same time, as creators of an operating system used so widely around the world, we recognize that we have a special responsibility, and we’re focused on mobilizing our company’s resources to create opportunities in communities worldwide to fulfill our commitment to serving the public good through innovative technologies and partnerships. This is a responsibility we take very seriously.
The fundamental truth about Microsoft’s citizenship initiatives is that all of the benefits to individuals, communities and society at large flow from innovation. The innovations in Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system – and the principles that drive those innovations – are demonstrating technology’s unique ability to help people, businesses and economies around the world and will be a driving force behind economic growth and development.
These two products are driving a new wave of innovation that supports choice and opportunity for consumers and developers, improved security and privacy and new jobs and economic growth.
PressPass: In what ways does Microsoft go about being a good corporate citizen?
Courtois: Although our Citizenship programs are diverse and tailored to the specific needs of the people and communities they serve, they are all organized around three central strategic themes, which form the foundation of our citizenship activities worldwide:
Promoting Security and Internet Safety addresses the societal challenges of information and communications technology, such as security, privacy, children’s online safety and spam, through investment in security technology, industry, legal and government partnerships that combat cybercrime and the broad dissemination of information to help customers make their systems more secure.
The second theme is Advancing the Knowledge Economy. Microsoft partners with governments and communities around the world to help strengthen local economies through digital inclusion initiatives, innovation and programs that stimulate growth of the local technology industry. These partnerships, in turn, contribute to the vitality of the global economy through ongoing technology innovation that leads to job creation and overall economic growth.
Finally, Demonstrating Responsible Business Practices, which ensures integrity and transparency in all of Microsoft’s business practices, with emphasis on strong governance, legal and antitrust compliance, support for industry standards, respect for intellectual property, interoperability of products and commitment to openness in technology practices.
PressPass: Why is being a good corporate citizen important to Microsoft?
Courtois: At Microsoft, we bring the same spirit of innovation to global citizenship that we have always applied to our business. Our Global Citizenship Initiative combines innovative technology, partnerships and programs to create economic, educational, and social opportunities in local communities worldwide, and to help foster a more secure computing experience for people everywhere.
We are proud of our achievements as an industry leader, a global citizen and an active partner to thousands of governments, businesses and community organizations around the world. But our work is just beginning. Our success in business has given us the opportunity, and the responsibility, to use our resources and influence to help change the world, to help make it a better and more rewarding place for people everywhere.
We look forward to the challenges and accomplishments that lie ahead.