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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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February 10, 2009 2:02 PM

Microsoft news roundup: Business search strategy; 10,000 patents; cheers for stimulus; Windows 7 beta closing

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Just over a year after moving to buy Fast Search & Transfer, an Oslo, Norway,-based leader in business search, Microsoft is articulating its plans to incorporate the technology into the next version of SharePoint, Microsoft's popular business collaboration software. It also announced FAST Search for Internet Business for building search-driven online business sites. See this 2008 story for background on the enterprise search market.

Microsoft's patent portfolio reached 10,000 patents, the company crowed today. The 10,000th patent covered technology in Microsoft's Surface tabletop computer. The company's portfolio was recently rated the strongest in the computer software category. Meanwhile, some of the best minds at Microsoft are also working with outside patent shop Intellectual Ventures, a Kirkland-company run by former Microsoftie Nathan Myhrvold, as MarketWatch reported last week.

Microsoft's top man in Washington, D.C., cheered the Senate's passage today of an $838 billion stimulus package. Fred Humphries, Microsoft's new managing director of U.S. Government Affairs, issued a statement, saying, in part:

"We are pleased that investments in retraining our workers and providing the skills necessary for the 21st century economy are core elements of the stimulus bills in conference. This critically needed funding will help unemployed citizens find jobs and empower current workers to enhance their skills. The technology sector is a vital engine of growth, even during tough times, yet many Americans lack the skills to qualify for even entry-level information economy jobs that can support them and their families for years."

He also praised the Senate bill for including funding for broadband infrastructure and called funding for health IT "a good first step."

The statement follows a speech Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave to lawmakers last week calling the stimulus package "vital."

If you haven't already started downloading a test version of Windows 7, too late. 12 a.m. today was the deadline to begin grabbing the code. For downloads that have already started, you have until 9 a.m. on Thursday.

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