Right of Reply: David Svendsen

The Chairman of Microsoft UK Ltd answers Andreas Whittam Smith's criticisms of his company

FEW PEOPLE would argue that Microsoft is one of the most successful software companies in the world and one of the key drivers behind the revolution in the use of technology over the last decade. Yet the US government is now seeking to curb the company's freedom to bring to reality its vision for how people could use computers in the future.

The computer industry is fast-moving, exciting, dynamic and highly competitive. It is an arena in which new ideas can become reality in very short timescales. No company, whatever its size, can afford to take its eye off the ball, otherwise they get left behind. Microsoft is no exception - success in the past is no guarantee of success in the future

We live in a world where technology is an integral part of our lives. Businesses want to make ever greater use of IT to maintain their competitiveness and improve performance. More and more people at home are using personal computers for a variety of tasks - from shopping and banking over the Internet to home learning and accessing information on the world wide web. People want computers to do more, while being easier to use.

Microsoft is but one company in a whole industry that is helping the move towards this new digital world. We actively listen very hard to what our customers want and we strive to understand their requirements for technology in the future. We invest heavily in research and development to respond to their needs. We work closely with literally thousands of other companies looking for new ways to help people get more out of their personal computer.

Like many other companies in the industry, we are continually innovating, coming up with new ideas and technologies that we hope will capture the imagination and have a real impact on people's lives. Most of all, we are focused on one thing - to make the best possible products and to offer them at the most competitive price for the benefit of the consumer.

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