Microsoft connects with Chicago business
December 6, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer, the man who paid $32.6 billion in dividends to investors
last week, arrived in Chicago and proclaimed, "Chicago is
a high-tech town. People don't necessarily think of it that way.
at the Executives' Club of Chicago, where he gave a rousing speech
on the continuing importance of innovation. He also connected
with Microsoft customers, including Tim Theriault, chief technology
officer at Northern Trust, and channel partner CDW CEO John Edwardson,
who hosted Ballmer at the Executives' Club.
footprint here might be a little bit bigger than most people have
in their mind's eye," Ballmer said. "There are 300 employees,
and we have 2,400 business partners. Those folks probably employ
20-to-30,000 people. We have important commercial partnerships
with Motorola. We have important relationships with Click Commerce,"
whose CEO, Michael Ferro, was seated near Ballmer.
Chicago's a great place for business," said Ballmer, who
got a little perspective on the city from Mayor Daley. "Mayor
Daley was telling me how aggressively Chicago thinks about business.
I was super impressed. We talked about the digital divide and
education. He has a strong perspective on what technology ought
to be doing around reading."
visit marks a period of increased local involvement by Microsoft
that is being fueled behind the scenes by Microsoft Midwest General
Manager Michael Gorriaran and his predecessor, Geoff Nyheim. Shelley
Stern Grach, Microsoft's Midwest community affairs manager, has
been an effective advocate in raising Chicago's importance within
visit is simply one step in a process, continuing to engage Microsoft
locally will pay large dividends to Chicago.
Club President Kaarina Koskenalusta continues her series of high-tech
events Tuesday with a panel exploring "High Tech 2005 and
features Accenture's chief scientist Glover Ferguson, Microsoft's
director of development and platform evangelism Todd Kimble, Comcast
Senior Vice President Joe Stackhouse and Intel Vice President
Stackhouse to talk about interactive television, the expansion
of video libraries, the proliferation of digital video recorders,
faster broadband connections and Webcams everywhere.
whole strategy is to make our version of television more interactive
and put the viewer in control," Stackhouse said.
you'll soon have caller ID integrated on your high definition
television. "You love your mother in-law, but you don't want
to miss the game to talk to her," Stackhouse said.
will describe Intel's latest work in proactive computing. He expects
computers will continue to proliferate. Each of us will have hundreds
or thousands of computers around us. Unfortunately, we can't easily
interact with that multitude of computers.
envisions a world where vast computing power acts proactively.
out there anticipating your needs," Tennenhouse said. "Sometimes
they might even go as far as taking action on your behalf."
to current research and treatment under way with early stage Alzheimer's
patients whose behavior is monitored and treated by prompts from
Capital Association President Robert Finkel offers a positive
outlook on the state's private equity industry tonight when his
group convenes its annual awards dinner. Four hundred members
of the local VC community are expected at the Ritz Carlton.
has grown from eight people thinking about private equity in the
state four years ago to over 500 private equity professionals,"
Finkel said. His group represents the majority of funds in Illinois,
and manages more than $35 billion in assets.
in Springfield created a $50 million Technology Development Fund,
and it will pursue creation of a $200 million Illinois Opportunity
Fund supporting Illinois start-up companies in the spring legislative
session. IVCA is pressing our public pension funds to invest locally,
and it's seeking tax relief to help Illinois attract investors.
Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.