Microsoft Hosts Leaders From Across Europe to Discuss European Competitiveness

LONDON — Nov. 4, 2010 — Speaking to leading figures from government, industry and academia from across Europe at the Government Leaders Forum Europe (GLF) in London, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer called for a new level of collaboration across industry and with government to advance progress on critical economic and social challenges in Europe. He focused his remarks on the role of technology, and cloud computing in particular, in driving transformation, especially in public sector, and underlined Microsoft’s commitment in Europe towards this goal.

“I believe we are just beginning to discover the value that technology innovation can deliver in Europe. The cloud has the capacity to transform the services we use, the organizations we work for and the countries we live in,” Ballmer said. “The cloud has arrived in Europe, but we need innovation on the policy front to meet innovation in the technology space. Today, I hope to spark some new dreams about the potential impact that a new generation of technology advances will have on people’s lives so that we can plan together to drive a new wave of economic growth in the region.”

On behalf of the company, Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, opened the forum calling on all industry and government stakeholders to engage in the development on the Digital Single Market. He articulated the range of policy issues that need to be worked on together in the context of the emerging cloud era.

“I see great examples of the cloud breaking through in businesses and government, with our partners, and it is creating transformation that was not possible even three years ago. But despite progress, there is a real risk of disconnect on the cloud in Europe in terms of reaching our full potential,” Courtois said. “Policy issues such as privacy, security, data sovereignty and broadband access are coming together in the context of the cloud, and are of concern to all stakeholders at the forefront of this transformation. We look forward to continuing this dialogue and welcome industrywide participation as we move forward responsibly on these important topics.”

Discussion at the GLF focused on five themes, all tied to the EU2020 Agenda. They include competition, focusing on European competitiveness and the evolving role of jobs, skills and education; economics, exploring the impact of technology and R&D on our economic, social and environmental landscapes; health and welfare, which examine opportunities for new models in eHealth; the Digital Single Market, discussing needed reforms and regulations; and eGovernment, exploring data governance and the evolution of digital citizen services.

“What is unmistakable is that each of these themes presents an opportunity for Europe to lead the world. This gathering presents a tremendous opportunity for dialogue and cooperation to help advance these agendas in Europe, drive forward our own transformation, and set an example for the rest of the world to follow,” Courtois concluded.

More than 300 public sector organizations in Europe are currently using the Microsoft cloud. This backs up recent cloud momentum in the public sector, including a new private cloud agreement with the governments in Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Bremen with Dataport, which is piloting the cloud application “Government CloudMail” to provide infrastructures, platforms and applications.

“Governments across Europe are looking for new and more cost-effective ways to serve and engage their citizens, and the cloud is already part of the answer,” outlined Linda Zecher, corporate vice president, Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector. “Helping governments implement cloud-based solutions is not just about making public service delivery less expensive, it is about making it smarter, faster and more responsive to the needs of citizens.”

The GLF is Microsoft’s keynote gathering for government leaders, focused on driving a shared agenda on how technology can accelerate progress on economic growth and competitiveness goals. It is designed to support new channels for collaboration between government and industry, and was tasked this year with providing impetus towards the EU2020 Agenda.

For more information see the Government Leaders Forum Europe Pressroom.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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