Introduction: A Remarkable Time in
Technology, but Also a Time of Uncertainty
We live in a remarkable time—a time when the proliferation of broadband networks
and the continual decline in the cost of technology have democratized computing,
making capabilities that were once available only to the privileged few commonplace
and accessible to almost everyone. Now, through the unprecedented power of
hyperscale datacenters, the cloud promises to transform our world in ways that we
have yet to imagine. As we move forward, there is every reason to believe cloud
computing will help us address many of humanity’s greatest challenges, drive
economic growth, and enable a better life for all.
What is most remarkable about the cloud is the ways in which it empowers people
to transcend the limits of conventional technology and explore entirely new ways of
working, communicating, and thinking. At NASA, for example, scientists on the Mars
Curiosity rover team are using the cloud to create a holographic 3-D simulation of
Mars so that they can explore Curiosity’s environment as if they were standing on the
planet’s surface. Here on earth, where the idea of a device that translates from one
language to another in real time has long been the stuff of science fiction, the cloud
is enabling young students in Tacoma, Washington, and Mexico City to communicate
without the barriers of language or distance. In the process, it is creating a bridge of
friendship that is changing how they learn about culture, history, and each other.
Businesses are also using the cloud to find answers that were once beyond their reach.
Recently an insurance company asked us to help them test the limits of a complex
underwriting model. Using 100,000 compute cores, our Azure cloud calculated the
cost of providing life insurance to every man, woman, and child on earth— 7. 3 billion
people in all—in just 100 minutes. This was a task that would have taken a single core
machine 19 years to accomplish.
None of this would be possible without the power of cloud computing. Microsoft
can help people take advantage of the cloud to achieve remarkable things because
we have been at the forefront of cloud technology for more than a quarter century.
We opened our first datacenter in 1989. Since then, we’ve invested over $15 billion to
build a global cloud infrastructure that spans more than 100 datacenters in over 40
countries. And we believe the cloud era is just beginning—this is why we continue to
invest billions more every year.
“We’ve invested over $15 billion to build a global cloud
infrastructure that spans more than 100 datacenters in
over 40 countries.”
Keeping Trust at the
Heart of Technology
Open Letter to Chief Legal Officers, Chief Privacy Officers,
and the Enterprise Legal and Compliance Community from
Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer