Steve Ballmer Speech Transcript – Government Leaders’ Conference 2002

Remarks by Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer
Government Leaders’ Conference 2002
Seattle, Washington
April 16, 2002

STEVE BALLMER: Well thanks, all, very, very much for coming. It is such a distinct pleasure and honor for us to welcome such a distinguished audience, particularly to Your Royal Highnesses, we very much appreciate the time and the energy people put into coming and joining us.

For us this is a very important event. If you take a look around the globe, as everybody in this room realizes, the significance not only to citizens participating in society but from an economic standpoint, from a variety of different aspects, the significance of government is paramount in every country in the world, and the chance to get together with a group of leaders from government around the world and to really talk about what the leading edge issues are in terms of information technology and the role that it plays in society is very, very important.

I agree with Bob, a lot of this is about some of the chance for us to highlight some ideas, some best practices for you to have a chance to take in, but a lot of it is the discussion that well have amongst all of us attending the conference, and that too is very important.

If you take a look at information technology and government there are so many connection points: e-government is certainly the one that is focused upon most, but improvements in the efficiency of government itself, the role of information technology in job creation and economic development, the role of information technology as a tool to facilitate education and the role of education as a training ground and a breeding ground for future employees and workers in the information technology industry, the role of information technology in healthcare; these are just some of the issues that I think are terribly important, both from the perspective of the information technology industry and of course Microsoft as a leader in that industry, as well as important from the perspective of government seeking to do whats best in a very broad sense for its citizens.

When you lay on top of that the increasingly complicated policy issues, privacy, security type issues that surround information technology and the importance of government taking a clear position to facilitate the development of these technologies in a rational form, in a form that is very much pro society, there is certainly a lot that brings us together.

From my perspective though perhaps the best way to capture the most important sense of why were all here today can be best embodied in two words: realizing potential. We were at a retreat of the top hundred people or so at Microsoft the other day and we really had a detailed discussion about what is it, whats the passion within us that brings each and every one of us at Microsoft to work every day. And we said really the thing that drives us is this notion that somehow we were in an important area, an area of technology that really can let people, let government, let businesses around the world realize their potential, providing tools that help people extend their natural capabilities and talents and leverage those in many new ways with the power of the computer as a tool to help individuals do so much more.

When I think about what it is that as a citizen of the United States, of the great State of Washington, a citizen of the world, what is it that I think citizens expect from government, its also the same kind of help and support, support that helps us as individuals realize our potential. Thats a key similarity. And as we think about what were trying to do and our industry is trying to do, were trying to provide tools that help people, help businesses be more efficient, be more empowered, have better information, have better access to information, and, oh by the way, helps people become closer, more tightly knit, have fun, et cetera.

Sometimes people ask, “Arent computers and information technology sort of dehumanizing in a certain sense?” I think of information technology as really a source of potential to draw the world so much more close together and be so much more of a human place.

I have a 10-year-old son. Hes never been to Italy. Hell go some day but weve not had a chance to make the trip yet. But two nights ago he was at home playing chess on the computer. He doesnt know who hes playing. Hes picked up a game, so to speak, out on the Internet and he finds that hes playing with a 16-year-old boy from Italy. And my son starts asking him questions about what its like in Italy and what goes on in Italy. And now isnt that wonderful, the computer helping people learn, drawing the world close together, being a tool that really helps in a lot of ways people in every part of the world come closer together and realize their potential.

As we think about this in kind of an e-government sense, we think about it in a number of different aspects: How do we help governments realize their potential to put better information in front of the key decision-makers, from the administrator in the local prefecture all the way on up to the leading government leaders who have to make important policy decisions on important social challenges, put the information right there where its needed to make the best decision? How do we help put tools in the marketplace that facilitate the interaction between government and the businesses that they serve? How do we put tools out there that give citizens better access, better visibility, better ability to participate in government not just in a voting sense but expressing opinions, giving input, having access to the latest and greatest information about whats going on? And how do these tools help broaden out over time to make sure that they are not further widening the divide between rich and poor countries, rich and poor people, but rather these are tools that help bridge the digital divide and are tools that help empower a very broad section of the populace in every country.

So those two words — realizing potential — thats what brings us to work every day, and I think in many senses thats what brings government leaders around the world to work every day. That really does lead us we think and that was one of the key reasons we started this conference, so its very much a shared vision.

We and you want to know how we empower citizens, consumers and businesses.

We and you know that if this is going to work and work well there has to be trust. There has to be trust that the systems will work. There has to be trust that appropriate privacy will be respected in these new electronic forms of communication.

I think we and you share a common view that information technology can be a source of job creation. The best thing for our company is for our industry to expand. The best thing in most economies for their growth and development certainly over the last 10 or 15 years has been the growth in the information technology sector, not only directly but also through the increased productivity that information technology brings to all businesses not just information technology businesses themselves.

And last but not least I think information technology plays a role in improving quality of life. The less time you have to spend doing tax filing or other activities, the more time you have to spend with family, with children, with spouse in important ways.

And I think all of these things are very much shared between our industry, our company and government leaders across the world.

That’s kind of where I think theres a lot of similarity. Thats kind of the aspirational notion of what we and you are doing, but we do this in a climate of continual technology change. Ive been at Microsoft for 22 years almost and Ive lived through three technology revolutions. Were in the middle of the fourth. The first three you all recognize. I came to Microsoft in 1980. There was no personal computer in 1980. This year there are well over half a billion personal computers installed and in use around the world. That was revolution one.

The second revolution, which we all had a chance to live through, was the change in personal computers, the change in computers from the old style computer with funny screens that were black with white characters on them that nobody could figure out to these nice screens with pretty pictures, with nice menus that a lot more but still not everybody can figure out. Well come back to that later; thats a challenge still to be attacked. That was the graphical user interface revolution and thats what really caused a dramatic increase in the acceptance of computers.

The third revolution was the Internet revolution. This was the revolution that let all of these computers around the world essentially get connected together.

And the revolution that we enter today we refer to as the XML revolution. XML is a technology embedded deeply in the underpinnings of the Internet. XML is an industry standard that is supported by Microsoft and our allies and our competitors in the industry, but its an important standard because we think XML will in some senses emerge as kind of the lingua franca for the Internet. Today, when two computers connect across the Internet typically what they do is they share pictures of information. You have a little Web browser and it lets you see a picture of information from another system. With XML instead of seeing a picture of some information the two computers actually exchange the information.

Why, might you ask, is this such a cosmic breakthrough? Because it means that the computers on both sides can use the data in new and interesting ways.

Ill give you an example from industry and then well talk about some examples from government. General Motors is a big company. They have suppliers who have suppliers who have suppliers who have suppliers who have suppliers who have suppliers. Thats literally true, seven levels deep they have a supply chain. When General Motors is building cars they want to see how much inventory sits with all of those people. They need to be able to collect real information down to very small, small suppliers way down that value chain. Perhaps even more importantly they need to be able to share design information.

It turns out that when you buy a General Motors or anybody elses car, but when you buy a General Motors car theres probably some small company, four or five employees, at the end of the day that actually designs the tool that builds the door that goes in your car. And if General Motors and that small supplier, whether that small supplier is in Detroit or Belgium or Hong Kong or wherever the supplier may be, if they dont exchange that information correctly, you know what happens? The door rattles; very important, mission-critical application to General Motors is that the door doesnt rattle. But the only way to do that is if the computers can speak the same language all the way along that supply chain. XML is the lingua franca that will make that much easier.

In the government case we have many cases where your computers need to speak to each other. One agency or ministrys computers need to speak to another. They need to speak to businesses that the government does business with. You need to be able to speak perhaps even to consumers personal computers where people want to exchange data with government. XML is the lingua franca that can facilitate that interaction.

Why do I highlight it? Because I think it is very important that while well be talking about policy issues and what people are doing, you have to understand that the dynamic active technology industry, of which we and countless other companies are a part, are on the verge of another breakthrough so that everything we talk to you about today, everything we show you today and tomorrow, everything that were talking about is just going to be better and better and better over the course of the next several years.

And you might say, but this XML thing sounds hard to understand. So did the PC. So did the Internet when it first came out. My parents were very bright people. I never could get them to understand who ran the Internet. It never made any sense to them. When I dropped out of school to come to Microsoft 22 years ago my father wanted to know what software was and my mother wanted to know why people would need computers and werent they just for big organizations.

So these revolutions arent always easy to understand on the front end, but this revolution will have a very dramatic impact on what youre able to do and what the businesses and citizens inside of your countries are able to do with technology.

A good example of this is some work that the government of the United Kingdom has been hard after for a couple of years now. For those of you who have attended this conference before weve talked about this work. We had the privilege of participating, but its a project that the UK government has done called the UK Government Gateway. They wanted to create essentially an infrastructure that would let a citizen communicate or a business communicate with the UK government. It wouldnt matter which agency, which ministry youre trying to talk to; theres one way to do that and they could build these things not so that they just have a Web page but also so that businesses, pension agencies, insurance companies that needed to talk to the government programmatically, because these were businesses that were essentially doing certain operations on behalf of the government, they could do that on behalf of the citizens in a very simple form.

So they built kind of this — what shall I call it — kind of a bus on which all citizens, all businesses plug in and talk to all agencies of the UK government. In the time that theyve been at it, by the end of this year, about two, two and a half years into the project they will have over four million UK citizens and businesses registered and doing business with the government electronically, and really on a worldwide scale its one of I think the most advanced and exciting e-government projects that Ive seen.

So if wed go ahead now and just roll the video for you, Ill give you a chance to give you a little bit of an update on the UK Government Gateway.

(Video segment.)

STEVE BALLMER: I hope it gives you a little bit of a sense of what I think is absolutely one of the leading edge projects going on in e-government anywhere in the world.

I had the privilege to sit down with Prime Minister (Leszek) Miller of Poland earlier this year. They committed themselves to a similar kind of project. We have a number of other governments that weve had the privilege to work with that are also committing to similar sorts of work. And so in some senses I have a lot of enthusiasm about where the world e-government push is.

On the other hand Ill tell you a secret. Its probably a bad secret but a secret nonetheless. Relative to the level of interest I have heard over the last several years from people in government on the e-government topic, I would say in many ways the whole e-government phenomenon has moved more slowly than I think I would have guessed and I think frankly a lot more slowly than some of the people who have had a lot of the courage and energy in government would have liked. Certainly from an IT industry perspective thats not a desirable state of affairs, but I think it is an important time to ask why is it, what are the key challenges, what is moving slowly, what is moving quickly and why are things not moving at quite the rate that some people would want.

The first thing I think we all recognize is there are challenges that come about in any project or business reengineering approach, which is essentially what were talking about in the e-government case, when it comes to information technology. And if theres one thing and one thing alone that youd take away at least from my speech at this part of the conference, it is that through some of the advances that are coming with these XML technologies you really can do remarkable things, remarkable things in e-government without huge change to the existing systems that you have.

Theres no way to up and rip apart and take apart and redo the tax systems, the health systems, the social benefit systems in every country, city, municipality. On the other hand, the ability to bring these together over the Internet for the businesses and consumers you deal with, you can get remarkable benefits today in simply integrating those things in ways that might surprise you.

And I think its important: If you ask where the benefits will come, the benefits will come when these systems can interoperate, when you can give better access to information, when you can help people get access to information particularly in ways that puts that information in front of people who might have been disenfranchised economically, overcoming the so-called digital divide, where you can bring agency information together inside the government and where you can help provide a good secure infrastructure for this kind of work.

So remarkable things can be done at a reasonable cost with some of the new technologies and weve got to help, our industry has got to help you get there because I think many people in government are disappointed with the speed with which youve been able to embrace and really act upon your e-government vision.

I want to pick a few examples just to whet your interest and appetite for further pushing on these e-government projects. The first is an example of an interoperability project and in some senses it has some characteristics in common with the UK Government Gateway. This was a project at the Australian Tax Office where they wanted to bring together a set of existing systems and make them available to businesses in Australia for essentially a set of operations that businesses need to do with the Business Registry and the Tax Office in Australia.

They built a set of technologies that they call COLA, which is their equivalent, if you will, to a gateway, and it allows them to tie together all of the taxation and business registry systems in Australia and make those systems available to the businesses of Australia very nicely, simply online.

Accenture, one of our partners, actually provided the programming and services to the Australian Tax Office and they took advantage of these new XML technologies to do this project very quickly and with fairly reasonable cost. Its a very good example of the kind of thing you can get done.

They now have over two million businesses registered online and they have over 500,000 searches that those businesses are doing per month for important information from the Australian Tax Office.

Here in the United States Ill tell you about a project that was done with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which was trying to bring together for the farmers particularly here in the United States a set of information that they need to very quickly get information to crop data, yield data, soil data, important information, which the Department of Agriculture has, which a sophisticated farmer needs to get maximum productivity in what they do.

They put all this information together, again using some of these new approaches. They put it together with information that lives out on the Internet that has satellite data of all the land, so you can literally look at a satellite picture of a piece of land and then call up for that piece of property all of the appropriate soil, then yield, et cetera, information and use that as input as a farmer in terms of what you will do.

This is a project that was really done primarily by one of our partners, Compaq, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One of my favorite projects that Ill have a chance to talk to you about today is a project that was done by the Indian government and really helps focus in on this issue of the digital divide. In rural India the farmers by and large sell their crops to a set of middlemen who come to a town and buy up crops at whatever price they choose. They are far away. Theyre kind of remote and the farmers needed better access to information in order to get a fair and reasonable price from these middlemen for their crops.

The Indian government put kiosks into a number of smaller rural villages. You can go to that kiosk. You can get the latest and greatest information about crop prices, and, oh, by the way, theres a set of services that the government offers through those kiosks, not only important crop price information, but you also then can do all the appropriate business filings with the government online from the kiosk. You can file complaints on various issues within the infrastructure and the agricultural community in India through these kiosks, et cetera.

So with a powerful economic benefit and through kiosks, which help bridge the digital divide, there are already some 500, 000 farmers in India in rural areas who never would have had access to the right information or the right technology, not only doing e-government but improving their economic state of affairs and their economic condition in important ways in India.

I went to school with a fellow named Jeffrey Sachs, whos a fairly well known economist, who specializes in developing countries. And they can prove that the best innovation for a small town to improve economic activity is a telephone. I predict that the modern equivalent to that will be an Internet connection and this project in India is a very good example about the level of economic benefit that comes from putting Internet connectivity available to the rural farmer.

I want to have a chance now to share with you a demonstration of another project. This is a case where government was trying again to integrate a set of systems and provide in a much more tightly integrated way a set of services in this case for healthcare in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts here in the United States. This was an important project that is known as “Mass Cares” — Mass for the state of Massachusetts and the set of work thats going on in Massachusetts. There are over 20,000 employees of the healthcare agencies in Massachusetts using these systems, over 20,000 providers of healthcare — doctors, hospitals, nurses, et cetera inside the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and over 2.7 million citizens who have all been hooked up in kind an e-government configuration using this Mass Cares system. And to demonstrate that for you Id like to welcome on stage from Microsoft Connie Mitchell Dean, who will have a chance to show us a little bit about whats going on in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Connie?



Good morning. Were going to spend the next two minutes taking a look at Mass Cares. And before I begin, a couple of points: Mass Cares, it was started out of the vision of the executive office of Health and Human Services and it encompasses 15 different agencies that administer over a thousand social service programs. This was done with the help of Microsoft partner Systems Engineering, Inc.

One of the problems that the customer was trying to solve was those 15 agencies worked independently yet often with the same clients and families. So as you can imagine, that resulted in duplication of services, conflict, waste, even fraud and of course it was very confusing for the citizen who had to go to up to 15 different places to get the help they needed.

So the answer to that problem is Mass Cares. Ill be showing you some data. Of course, its not real client data and all confidential information in Mass Cares is tightly protected by a rigid security system.

Steve talked about three different kinds of e-government solutions: government to citizen, government to business and government to government. Mass Cares is a comprehensive e-government solution that hits on all three and Ill be showing you examples of each of those.

Lets start with government to citizen. This is an eligibility wizard and its a breakthrough in that it provides a universal and consistent approach to determining eligibility across all programs. And this could be used by a client, a potential client, even a caregiver on behalf of a client or caseworkers themselves. Its been developed to support multiple languages. Today were going to use English.

And imagine that youre a client who is struggling to pay some medical bills and you want to see if you might be eligible to receive some help from the state in terms of healthcare. So were going to apply for Mass Health.

Now, the reason its called Express is that its a very short series of questions that will help me understand if, in fact, I may be eligible. Im going to answer these questions in terms of where I live, what other programs I might be receiving, my age, et cetera, and as soon as I answer a question it automatically qualifies or disqualifies me. Ill be brought to this summary page; very much expedited from the process that they used to use.

From this point on I can decide to proceed with the application process, if I wish, and Im immediately brought to the form and the instructions that follow to make that happen. This means that when I go meet with my caseworker Im prepared and thats going to be a much more productive session than it would have been prior to Mass Cares.

So thats government to citizen. Lets move on to government to business. And this module is called the Resource Locator. There are tens of thousands of social service agencies in Massachusetts. A lot of them are small not-for-profits. Some of them are public; some are private sector. All that information was widely scattered. Caseworkers couldnt get to it easily to make the right referrals to the right places. Clients couldnt get to the information to get to the help they needed. Even a general citizen, who would be interested in that kind of information, didnt have it consolidated for them, let alone searchable and online like it is now.

So lets do a standard search. In this case Im going to put in the keyword called “food.” Lets say that were in an emergency situation and we need food to feed a family right away. And Im going to say that I need that service in the Boston area. Immediately Im presented with a list of all the service providers that can do that for me in that geography. Another keyword could have been job training, child care, employment services, all sorts of services that Massachusetts provides along with their third party providers.

Now, even though thats a very useful tool for a citizen, a client, a caseworker, what I really want to highlight here in terms of government to business is that it gives these providers a chance to have an online Web presence for the first time to get closer to the population that theyre trying to serve. And also this provides the foundation for online schedule, referrals, even payments. So this is a great start in terms of connecting government to business.

STEVE BALLMER: So these businesses connect to government and government helps them connect to the citizens?


The last module I want to show you is government to government, and these are some of the tools that were developed as part of Mass Cares for the employees of Health and Human Services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

So lets say that were an administrator and well start with some of the overall reports that are available to help me understand whats going on in my jurisdiction. This is a map developed in Microsoft MapPoint. It runs on SQL. Everything that you see here uses standard Microsoft Office productivity tools like Office XP. And what I can do as an administrator is get a very nice graphical view of what clients am I serving and what kinds of services are they receiving. The different types of services are in the legend: healthcare, social services, et cetera. And what I can do from here is actually drill down on any one neighborhood. Lets say I want to find out a little bit more about whats going on in this area and I can get increasingly detailed levels of information.

So Ill continue going down all the way to a particular zip code, lets say, where I can actually get to the client data. This is a breakthrough because this is the first time this is available for all program areas across the enterprise of Health and Human Services.

STEVE BALLMER: So theyre pulling this information from a variety of different systems?

CONNIE MITCHELL DEAN: Thats right. Theyre using their legacy data. Theyre able to leverage their existing investment and add on these new tools that really bring new life into what they already had, so it can give them all these new great data sources.

And, of course, I can continue. Like, for example, this would be most likely by a caseworker to get down to the client level. I can drill down into any one client and find out who else is in the household, what kind of services theyre all receiving and I can even, if Im a caseworker, find out who they other caseworkers are that are calling on that same home, so I can coordinate services better; even call the providers, in this case Case Kitchens, who is providing some Head Start program services.

So thats Mass Cares. Microsoft, working with Massachusetts and the partner, Systems Engineering, Inc., were able to develop a system and empower the citizen with better access to higher quality services, empower businesses to work more effectively with government to provide those services and to empower government itself with better data to do their job.

STEVE BALLMER: Is that a very big project? How much time and effort did this take?

CONNIE MITCHELL DEAN: Not as big as you might think. Theyve been working hard at it for a couple of years. Its in a pilot phase. Its up and running in three different geographies in the state and they really have been very pleased with what theyve been able to do.

STEVE BALLMER: Super. Thanks very much, Connie.



STEVE BALLMER: I hope we got you thinking about perhaps some of the kinds of things that were able to do today, that youre able to do today with the technologies coming out of our industry at reasonable cost and complexity to take the information you have, make it more accessible, let citizens interact with you and help people inside government interact with one another.

The environment in which all this has to happen is an environment, as I spoke earlier, of trust. It is incredibly important and the level of priority that we see not only in government but in businesses and amongst consumers, the priority on being able to trust these systems in a variety of ways — people want to trust that theyre up and working, because if you make this a primary form of interaction with people you have to trust that it stays up. You have to trust that the information is secure in a variety of different ways; that is, is the data in such a form that people cant see what theyre not supposed to see? Is the data in such a form that people cannot change the data in ways that theyre not supposed to be able to change it? And can you guarantee that somebodys private information remains private throughout the process?

The collection of all of these things we refer to at Microsoft as “Trustworthy Computing,” and in some senses I think what we have committed ourselves to other the course of the last year or so is a dramatic increase in the priority on these trust issues in terms of our technology developments.

If I think there is one impediment that will really slow down the acceptance of information technology in these new scenarios it would be the inability of government leaders, of citizens or of businesspeople to trust information in a variety of forms.

We certainly are laying out for our company and for our industry this as a priority. We are redoing the way we approach the development of new products. We are trying to bring tools to the market that will let you and other people more easily build and audit applications to make sure that they are trustworthy and secure. And I think its an important point for me to punctuate, particularly with all of the questions and concerns around security and privacy in the world today.

I want to transition just before I wrap up and talk a little bit about the role of the IT, information technology industry in the economy. Today in the United States the three largest sources of employment are the electronics industry, the automotive industry and the information technology industry. Its unbelievable, particularly if you look at electronics plus information technology how important these industries are.

If you look at businesses today around the world about 50 percent of what they spend on capital equipment is going into information technology and that number is growing. Its growing less fast than it was before the economic difficulties of the last couple of years, but it is growing. Businesses realize that one of the best investments they can make is in technologies, which help their employees do a better job.

Almost every organization will tell you that people are our number one asset — people, knowledge, information. The computer is a tool not to replace people but to help people get better leveraged in everything that they do.

Youll hear from John Gantz of IDC about some research work that they have done in a study, which is being released today, on the growth in the IT industry. They see the creation of over 300,000 new firms in the information technology industry over the course of the next three years or so. And they think IT jobs will grow by 50 percent in at least 23 of the 28 countries in which they did this research. And whether its growth in the number of IT companies, its growth in employment in the IT industry or its growth in revenue in the information technology industry, it is a very positive picture, very positive picture.

And, yes, things can get slowed down because of economic turmoil but the fundamental fact is there is additional value being delivered by the information technology industry and it is a source of huge job growth.

If you take a look at this, in many ways this is not all about Microsoft, its not about IBM and Oracle and Cisco, the other big companies in our industry. Most of this job growth comes in smaller companies that provide IT services in literally every part of the world.

Just to give you something of a feel for that, this is just sort of a Microsoft perspective, we have over 141,000 smaller companies that we partner with in the United States, 269,000 in Europe, 95,000 in Latin America, 113,000 in Asia, the Pacific Rim and Japan, 26,000-plus in Australia and New Zealand, 11,000 in the Mideast and Africa. These companies, small companies, one, two, five, 10, maybe up to 100, 150 employees, these companies deliver services around technologies that we provide so we know them, we track them, we understand them. And for every dollar of Microsoft revenue that we deliver in a country theres over $8 of additional revenue that goes into software, hardware and services from these partners in literally every part of the globe.

So when we talk about growth in the IT industry its not the Microsofts, the IBMs and the Oracles; its companies like these, hundreds and thousands of smaller companies in every part of the world that are growing and benefiting with every investment in information technology; very important investments and certainly as we talk to you as government leaders I think it benefits the companies in your geographies to see you make leading edge investments in e-government technologies, both as a source of revenue but also as a source of leadership to spur the information technologies in all of your respective geographies.

For the growth in the IT industry to continue I think it will require a lot of focus from a policy perspective. Intellectual property laws must be strong and well enforced in all parts of the world. There is some debate and controversy over this today. Some people like free software, which I think is a fine thing. What our world needs and our industry needs through is a mix where people can build commercial businesses not only in the United States but in every part of the world. Every country I visit wants to be an exporter of software, particularly since it doesnt require a lot of capital investment. That requires a strong local market in which commercial software gets sold and intellectual property gets defended.

An investment in IT education and training: Weve had a program going on in Europe for about six years now where we set aside proceeds from recoveries that we make with local governments from people who have pirated our software and weve helped retrain over 12,000 people who were unemployed and put them back to work in the information technology industry.

Many governments are doing some kind of public sector R & D. You need to have strategies that let the private sector companies in your countries, in your geographies have a way to take that R & D and commercialize it.

The telecommunication markets and the IT markets are very closely associated. There needs to be same policies around telecommunication if IT is to flourish.

International trade: This industry has always grown up as a global industry and it is very important I think for its success that it remains global.

There needs to be the right kind of tax and investment infrastructure and the right kind of regulatory principles applied to issues like privacy and security, certainly policies that are very much pro consumer but at the same time also policies, which are helpful in terms of letting technical innovations and investments proceed to market post haste.

We certainly see a lot of opportunity. We and you together have a chance to help the citizens of the world realize potential in new ways. You have a chance to be on the cutting edge of taking advantage of new technologies and changing the ways you work internally and with the businesses and citizens in your geographies, and you certainly have a critical role in continuing to spur the developments of the information technology industry, which I assure you will continue to thrive and provide jobs and opportunities in literally every country and every geography of the world.

This is a great conference. I want to thank you again very much for taking the time to join us. Please do give us your feedback. We keep tailoring and tuning this conference to better meet your needs. But I hope you get a little bit of something about the opportunities out of my speech, but then you get a chance to really hear and talk to your counterparts about exciting things going on everywhere in the world and we certainly wish you all the best of luck and will provide all the best of support that we can to your initiatives in e-government.

Thanks again and enjoy the rest of the conference.