Microsoft creates policy forum for academics

WASHINGTON: Microsoft launched an online forum January 6 for the academic community to participate in a dialogue about policy issues relating to the technology industry.

WASHINGTON: Microsoft launched an online forum January 6 for the academic community to participate in a dialogue about policy issues relating to the technology industry.

The company will not be participating in the forum, but is asking academics to submit articles, blogs, and event listings about intellectual property, cloud computing, antitrust, the knowledge economy, and privacy, said Kathryn Neal, academic relations director for Microsoft.

The forum is called Technology Academics Policy (TAP). It is aimed at journalists, Capitol Hill staffers, think tanks, and other decision makers.

“We thought it would be good to have a central site where people could be exchanging ideas,” she added. “The purpose was to highlight a lot of the good work that's being done in academic institutions on technology policy issues.”

Academic institutions that are participating include UC Berkeley, Harvard University, Northwestern University, and Stanford Law School.

Microsoft, which hired Adfero Group in summer 2009 to support the program, also created a presence for TAP on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Digg, and Facebook. Academic participants can engage in each medium, including posting videos to YouTube, noted Neal.

“There's a lot that's happening in the public policy arena that impacts not just Microsoft but Google and IBM and all kinds of IT companies,” she said. “It's really evolving quickly even on the legal debate.”

Shellie Edge, account supervisor for Adfero Group, said the firm is reaching out to legal, IT, and technology trades and blogs that have already been covering these policy issues. It is also targeted top-tier media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

“We're hopeful that the mainstream media will eventually seek this as a resource, as well,” said Neal. “We just started out with the people we know who are writing about these issues.

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