Ballmer: 'New era of partnership'

Microsoft's chief executive says the software company and the entire information technology industry "are on the verge of a new era of partnership with the government" to improve security and address privacy concerns.

"There are issues that need more public and private cooperation," Steve Ballmer said in remarks Nov. 12 at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "Government realizes that an innovative technology industry is the key to economic growth. This forms the basis of a new partnership."

Without discussing specifics, Ballmer said the company is working with authorities to curtail identity theft, reduce the chances of debilitating attacks on the Internet, curb spam and provide privacy protections. Citing industry estimates, Ballmer said identity theft costs consumers $1 billion a year while spam, or unwanted e-mail, accounts for two of every three in-box messages today.

"Technology companies can do a great deal, both to create technology tools that address social issues, such as privacy and security, and to work together through responsible industry self regulation," said Ballmer, who joined the Redmond, Wash., company in 1980 and was appointed CEO nearly three years ago. *

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