Open Data sharing by Microsoft

Data acquisition really started in earnest at the end of the 20th century, when Google started to win over other search engines and Facebook decimated Myspace and then conquered most of the world (it’s still to gain a foothold in China) 

It is Big Business in 2020 and the data collected is staying in the servers of a few big players, giving unprecedented power to the larger corporations and certain governments. 

Microsoft have now made an open call, on all governments and corporations, that they begin sharing the data collected to better service the global community. 

We want to work with companies and governments to build an open and trusted data ecosystem. We want to build a world where data works for everyone, for the many, not the few.”

– Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Co-Founder and Chair, Open Data Institute 

Of course, this is not just a selfless move on the part of Microsoft, they too would benefit as even though LinkedIn, Teams and Bing do collect data on their customers, it’s main commerce is in providing software and server solutions to paying customers whereas Facebook / Googles main income is derived from advertisers which pay for the massive data information they hoover up from their ‘users’. 

“We’re excited to work with others, to share data with others, and perhaps most importantly, to learn from others. Because if we all work together, and take this on as the challenge it deserves, we can create a stronger foundation for inclusive economic growth, based on data, around the world.”

– Brad Smith, President, Microsoft 

This is an exciting first salvo as it is from one of the behemoths of the tech industry, one that is big enough that other companies will sit up and take notice, and whilst not criticising other companies business models, nor wanting to nationalise or undermine the value of their data, but an Open Data initiative could aid in the solution of global issues. 

For example, Microsoft and Adaptive Technologies have expanded their partnership to aid in the decoding of Covid 19 immune response: 

https://news.microsoft.com/2020/03/20/adaptive-biotechnologies-and-microsoft-expand-partnership-to-decode-covid-19-immune-response-and-provide-open-data-access/ 

I’ll leave the last words to Jennifer Yokoyama, Chief IP counsel for MS on closing the data divide; 

In recent months, we’ve again seen the benefits that better data sharing can bring not just for companies and other organizations, but also in tackling the world’s biggest challenges. From climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that data plays a critical role in helping us understand these challenges and in addressing them. To fully realize the benefit of data, we need to develop the ability to share data across organizational boundaries in a way that is safe and secure, and allows the data to be used effectively.  If ever there was a time to accelerate the world’s efforts around open data, it is now. We hope our steps today can contribute to these efforts. We’re committed to the cause, and to learning from and working with others. 

 

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