Microsoft in China
This is a little bit late but I think it is worth discussing in this blogg of mine. Last April 19, 2007 Bill Gates and Craig Mundie held their Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in Beijing.
It was very interesting because it talks about poverty as compared to the usual tech talk that Microsoft usually held. Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder - Grameen Bank, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, was their special guest.
Professor Muhammad Yunus talks about technology that could reach poor people and a business that welcomes all types of people even without collateral except for the word trust.
One form of business that he introduced is called Social Business. It is a business that is none gloss, none dividend, a social business and its not making money. Its objective is to help the poor people.
Social business is different to charity because in social business when you lend some money it will be reused over and over and again while in charity your money will be gone. The purpose of social business is to use money to achieve social goals. It can expand and go bigger and bigger. You do business where you expect nothing in return.
Indeed this idea is something revolutionary as compared to charity works.
Bill Gates: key point in his talk is education. He made it clear that top education is the top priority of Microsoft in fulfilling their commitment. He also made it clear that the dynamic growth of Asian countries as compared to the US is all because of the commitment to education.
Education is truly a place where a lot of advancement can be taken place in order to create dynamic growth to a certain countries. One of Microsoft way of contributing to this growth is called “the Imagine Cup” and they have 100, 000 students registered and more to come. It creates opportunity for large companies and small companies, new innovators. Then Microsoft helps them in marketing and some efforts to get going.
One of the most awaited events that I am excited about is the Innovation Centers, which are places that developers can come in and get advice, use hardware they might not be able to buy themselves. So far they have 110 of these around the world and they are committed to grow this over the next couple of years over 200.
Bill Gates also mention about services that will let people author material, let teachers edit the course material themselves, without understanding a lot of technology. It talks more about allowing Web 2.0 to expand and be more visible to the public.
Craig Mundie: Chief Research and Strategy Officer, was there to deliver the visions of Bill Gates to reality in the form of technology. Craig made an amazing evolution in improving education that will have an incredible dynamic range, from students in elite schools in wealthy countries to basically people in impoverished locations, with perhaps little capability for delivery of formal education in any traditional sense.
He showed a small device that just the size of your cell phone, this device is a small computer. It's actually running Windows Vista, the latest operating system. I do think this is way better than the iPhone.
The challenge is, how do we ultimately get devices of that capability into literally every child's hand?
They have the assumption that that day will come, that just as personal computers and television and now cell phones have become very inexpensive and are permeating the society globally, they expect to see the same thing happen.
Services, hardware and a sophisticated software that will handle the challenge of tomorrow is where Microsoft heading through. One new service that they are working on is tutoring services from the people that they may know or, in fact, not know.
One brilliant idea is to really leveraging the power of the cell phone and the ubiquity of the cell phone as a way to move into computing in support of things, including education, using the cell phone as the basic computer.
They can now build economically the ability for a cell phone to basically dock with a keyboard and any type of display, including an existing television display.
Another interesting innovation Microsoft created is the Windows MultiPoint, which is a new technology around multiple mice; and then a concept called Digital Study Hall.
Windows MultiPoint is the ability to take individual PC mice, and instead of having one mouse per computer, be able to have essentially an arbitrary number of mice per computer. They've got one computer, one display, one keyboard, but a mouse per user.
Digital Study Hall is a classroom with a teacher, but in this case what they we're doing is recording using just a standard Handicam the best teachers in each subject in each school district. And by recording them those lectures are made available to all the people in the school.
Seriously speaking with these all kinds of techniques and technologies that is being distributed Microsoft is indeed the most admired company. However, when I reflect to Professor Muhammad Yunus thoughts I begin to wonder how can a beggar be part of this system? What type of strategy should be developed in order to create equality?
Poor people are illiterate and the only communication they know is their mouth. Perhaps maybe speech recognition will be the key or the mind recognition but then again it will be expensive.
To bridge the gap of digital divide social business is a promising key in transforming the ignorant people to gain knowledge and become smart.
Watch the Video: Microsoft Government Leaders Forum Asia 2007 - Beijing, People's Republic of China