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Frederic Kendrick, NNPA Special Correspondent
Published: 15 April 2009

WASHINGTON (NNPA) -- Microsoft executives discussed their governmental initiatives and product offerings at the event billed as the first Diversity Media Briefing of 2009.

The nearly a dozen attendees quizzed top Microsoft decision-makers on the company's strategic approach in view of the new Obama administration.

Fred Humphries is Microsoft's newly appointed managing director of Federal Government Affairs, and he wants to capitalize on the Obama administration's passion for all things technology.

It is Humphries' job to convince the White House to devote attention to areas where Microsoft is heavily invested: healthcare, education, energy and environment, workforce development, and broadband.

"Microsoft is extremely interested in and focused on the policy side," Humphries says.

His outreach might just catch the eye of the president who has been described as an incurable blackberry user.

Obama has made technology a passion of his administration. Microsoft is pleased to finally have an ally in the Oval office as Humphries adds, "We believe President Obama gets it right like no one has done in a long, long time. We are going through a new period of technology."

Microsoft aims to capitalize on the President's loaded slate of issues, beginning with healthcare reform. Microsoft is pushing products aimed squarely at correcting healthcare's ills through technology.

With Microsoft's health IT, Humphries reveals, "One can go online, set up an account, gather all your medical records and control access among your physicians, family members and more. In emergency room situations, one can allow access to doctors and others at a time of need. It's scalable throughout the country, but also facilitates privacy. Health IT is an enabler."

Education is another target area where Microsoft aims to make inroads. As a testament to what technology in the classroom can accomplish, the company points to the School of the Future in Philadelphia.

Humphries boasts, "In the school there are smart boards where they actually fully utilize the computers. There is also a physical help desk where students may go to get assistance with their technology needs. Attendance is now at 98 percent. Kids want to go there!"

Microsoft takes a public policy stance here by asking through the school and similar initiatives, what stimulates students and what is of educational value to today's learners?

One of Microsoft's newer ambitions includes the digigirlz. The program reaches into the community to assist young ladies by having mentors speak to them concerning careers in technology. With digigirlz, Microsoft wants to groom the next generation of IT business leaders - who just happen to be women.

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