Here is the text of Ballmer's letter, as posted to Microsoft's Web site:
February 11, 2009
Dear member of Congress:
Microsoft strongly supports passage of the conference agreement announced today between the House and Senate on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), and I urge Congress to act now. We believe the final conference agreement will help families during this difficult economic time, create and save jobs, and begin to put our country back on the path toward long-term economic growth.
We are experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime economic crisis. However, this crisis also provides an opportunity to restart the economic engine, shore up our financial institutions, and rebuild investor and consumer confidence. Investing in people and our nation's science and technology infrastructure will put us on the right path for the future.
This final package includes significant investments in human capital--in the citizens of our country. America is second-to-none in turning ideas into innovations. In today's knowledge-driven world, innovation depends on workers who are technically sophisticated and have strong critical thinking skills. To succeed in the knowledge economy, our workers need access to ongoing education and training services. For the unemployed, new technical skills provide a new start up the economic ladder. We have to provide lifelong learning opportunities so everyone has the right skills as technology advances and the economy expands.
In the same way, it is critical for the U.S. government to make this long-term commitment to research and development (R&D), and to encourage private sector R&D that will propel our economy forward. This year alone, despite the tough economy, Microsoft will invest over $9 billion in R&D to help grow our business for the future, drive innovation across the industry, and help keep the U.S. at the forefront of emerging technologies.
The conference agreement includes critical government investment in our nation's science and technology infrastructure. These investments will help extend the reach of broadband access to many communities and improve access for many citizens. The conference agreement also provides incentives to create jobs in green technology, alternative energy, bioengineering, and advanced computing and technological solutions that will help us address some of our most pressing challenges.
The agreement also promotes the adoption of information technology to transform health care. We believe information technology can help create a connected health system that delivers predictive, preventive, and personalized care--a system that will improve the health of Americans and help control health care spending. Government support for rapid adoption of information technology is essential and measurable outcomes are needed to help the administration and Congress achieve the goals of increased access, lower health care costs, and improved quality of care.
I urge you to support the conference agreement and I look forward to working with you as you shape policies that will revitalize our economy and create long-term economic growth.
Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer