Ballmer pledges software accessibility at FOSE 2000

Ballmer pledges software accessibility at FOSE 2000

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff

APRIL 18—In this morning's keynote speech at the FOSE trade show in Washington, Microsoft Corp. president and chief executive officer Steve Ballmer stressed his company's partnership with the federal government and pledged to make software more accessible to disabled users.

Ballmer called the Web's Extensible Markup Language the universal medium for exchanging data among agencies and with the public.

He shared the podium with Augie Turano, a Microsoft Federal Systems researcher who displayed a prototype of a Veterans Health Administration application called Health eVet. The Web application, now in feasibility testing, combines Windows 2000 features with XML and public-key infrastructure security. Using Health eVet, veterans would maintain and update their own medical records electronically.

Also speaking during Ballmer's keynote was George C. Vanderheiden, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin, who demonstrated an electronic voting booth prototype which has a touchscreen and a voice synthesizer. Microsoft is funding part of the research on products to assist disabled voters.

Ballmer said the federal government is Microsoft's largest single customer. Several individual agencies also rank among its major customers, he said.

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