|Yugoslav prince praises Internet for aiding democracy
By PEGGY ANDERSEN
Associated Press Writer
Associated Press Newswires
SEATTLE (AP) - The reason we're all here today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said as the company's 5th annual Government Leaders Conference got under way Tuesday, can be expressed in two words: "realizing potential."
Crown Prince Aleksandar II of Yugoslavia - actually Serbia-Montenegro on the new map of the Balkans - offered a case in point, describing the Internet's role in his country's return to democracy and his own recent return to the Karadjordjevic family's old digs, the royal palace in Belgrade, after years in London.
"E-mail was key" in linking up his country's democratic opposition, the
prince said in a quick interview moments before his keynote appearance. "I
convened three conferences for democracy with e-mail."Faxes are difficult "when
the telephone system is not great," the prince said. And the Internet is more
cost-effective. The carbon-copy function, especially, helped get the word out,
he told the 400 government officials at this year's conference.In a
pro-democracy campaign conducted entirely via Internet, technology helped remove
the barriers between the prince and embattled citizens of his war-torn country,
said Joel Kurtzman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School
of Management, who introduced the prince and conducted a Q&A with him in an
early session of the three-day conference.
The royal family was exiled by communists who took power after the war. Former President Slobodan Milosevic, now facing trial for alleged war crimes, used the two Belgrade palaces as his offices.
Yugoslavia's new pro-democracy authorities restored citizenship rights - and the palaces - to the prince and his wife, Princess Katherine, who now work in support of that fledgling government, encouraging outside investment and internal entrepreneurs.
"I have no intention of becoming a politician," Aleksandar said. Yugoslavia is struggling to recreate an infrastructure and provide a secure place to reverse the brain drain that occurred during "years of total madness," when an estimated 300,000 educated residents fled the country, the prince said. "It's a little slow but people do have hope," he said. Reconstituting a legal system and other basics is costly and "doesn't happen overnight." In the meantime - another nod to Internet communications - "we feel the need to be more communicative with the people." Ballmer's opening remarks were upbeat. Internet technology can help governments make better use of the resources and information they have, he said - as well as draw people closer together and "make the world a more human place."
Ballmer cited the United Kingdom's Government Gateway Website - tapped by 4
million people last year - as an example of how government can use the Internet
to improve citizen access to a wide range of services, benefits and agencies. He
also noted the U.S. Agriculture Department's Lighthouse Web site, which offers
one-stop shopping for natural-resource data to farmers and businesses, and
Massachusetts' MassCares Website operated by the state's Executive Office of
Health and Human Services.
The industry is entering its fourth revolution, he said - the XML revolution, centered on a new Web programming language that will erase barriers posed by different systems and languages. Microsoft is developing a set of Internet services called .NET based on XML.
The first three revolutions, Ballmer said, were the PC revolution that brought personal computers to millions of homes; the graphic-interface revolution that improved computer-screen visuals; and the Internet revolution that links millions of people and offers them unimaginable quantities of information.
World leaders convene at Microsoft's Government Leaders' Conference.
21 April 2002
Middle East Company News
More than 400 hundred-government officials from 70 countries and regions gathered for the annual Microsoft Government Leaders' Conference, in Seattle, USA.
Microsoft Corp. announced the release of a new study underscoring the significant and growing role information technology (IT) plays in the global economy. Government officials from UAE, Kuwait, Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Morrocco, Jordon and Saudi Arabia have participated at the Conference. The event was held in Seattle, USA.
The IT Economic Impact Study, an independent analysis of international IT spending and employment, projected that the worldwide market for computer and networking hardware, software and services will exceed trillion (U.S.) for the first time this year, and will exceed .4 trillion (U.S.) in 2005. The study, conducted for Microsoft by IDC, an international market research firm, found that worldwide IT spending grew by more than 10 percent annually during much of the past decade, much faster than the global economy overall.
Innovations in technology, including important advances such as XML Web services, are creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and helping drive economic growth around the world, said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. By enabling businesses and governments to be more productive, efficient and agile, and by allowing people around the world to communicate seamlessly across a range of devices, information technology is helping us all realize our true potential. Working with more than 750,000 partners around the world, Microsoft is committed to providing industry leadership in the exciting Digital Decade ahead.
Ballmer delivered the opening keynote address at the fifth annual Government Leaders' Conference, where officials shared their experiences in using technology to empower citizens and improve services as well as to stimulate economic development. The three-day conference included presentations by government visionaries who understand the urgent and vital role technology plays in driving global competition, as well as forums for dialogue on various public policy issues.
Figueres, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative on information and communications technology, delivered an address at the three-day event, as also His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and Mark Forman, associate director for IT and e-government in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Among the many speakers discussing the power of e-government in their countries and regions, Mexico's representative delivered a presentation on that country's e-government plan and was joined live via video uplink by Mexican President Vicente Fox. Italy's representative unveiled his country's e-government action plan, and the Republic of Croatia's representative highlighted his country's e-government portal project. Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates, delivered the closing keynote address.
IT Spending and Jobs on the Rise
Microsoft commissioned IDC to conduct in-depth examinations of the IT industries in 28 countries and regions. Findings revealed that the growth of IT is widely dispersed and especially intense in some developing countries. From 1995 to 2001, IT spending grew in each of the 28 countries and regions at compound annual rates ranging from 4.1 percent in Japan to 43.7 percent in Venezuela. Latin America's IT spending was particularly significant: In addition to Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica were among the top five countries with the highest percentage growth. The fifth country in that group is China.
Millions of high-skill IT jobs were created around the world during the second half of the 1990s. Of the 28 countries and regions studied, 18 saw growth in IT employment of 50 percent or more, according to IDC estimates. The IT sector in China alone added more than 1,160,000 jobs. Most of these jobs are in indigenous companies, many of which were created in just the past five years. IDC estimated that in the 28 countries and regions, 200,000 new IT companies have been created since 1995.
IDC projected that between now and 2005, half of the 28 profiled countries and regions will see their IT spending grow at a compound annual rate of 10 percent or more. Asia is expected to lead, with IT spending in China projected to experience the fastest growth, at a compound annual rate of 26.8 percent, followed by India, Malaysia, Korea and Singapore. Software and IT services are seen as the key drivers of future growth. By 2005, services will make up the largest portion of IT spending in most of the profiled countries, increasing by an average of 11.1 percent annually over the next four years to 50 billion (U.S.). IDC also expects that software will be the highest growth segment of the IT industry, growing an average of 15 percent annually over the next four years to exceed 35 billion (U.S.) in global spending in 2005.
Multiplier Effect of Microsoft and Partners
Microsoft has been a key contributor to IT industry growth. The company currently partners with more than 750,000 hardware manufacturers, software developers and service providers located on every continent. IDC estimated that every of Microsoft revenue generates in purchases from Microsoft's partners. By this calculation, Microsoft products accounted for more than 00 billion (U.S.) in revenues in 2001.
IT industry growth also is aided by Microsoft's commitment to open software standards, which create opportunities for IT firms around the world to build interoperable devices and software. Microsoft's commitment to a new set of technologies based on a standard known as XML (Extensible Markup Language) promises to unleash even stronger growth from a new generation of XML-based Web services. Over the next decade, Web services are expected to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry. Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers and other .NET technologies are the most advanced platform for creating, delivering and using XML Web services.
About Microsoft Corporation
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft opened its Dubai-based Middle East headquarters office in 1991 and also has offices in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In 1999, Microsoft opened offices in Lebanon, Kuwait and Pakistan and offices in Jordan and Oman earlier this year.
Microsoft Corporation's address on the World Wide Web is: www.microsoft.com Microsoft Middle East's Web site is: www.microsoft.com/middleeast. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.