Microsoft has a 12th man too, and it’s you!

Here in Seattle we are still pinching ourselves over yesterday’s Super Bowl blow out against the Denver Broncos. I don’t think even the most diehard Seahawks fans expected such a rout. It was long overdue for the Emerald City and I couldn’t be happier for our team. Kudos to Paul Allen, the management team, coach Pete Carroll, all the players and especially the fans, or should I say the 12th Man. It was one terrific day for Seattle and the Seahawks.

imageBesides Microsoft employees showing their team spirit by forming a big 12 on our corporate campus last Friday, for the first time ever Microsoft ran a television spot during the Super Bowl game itself. It seemed pretty fitting considering our corporate headquarters are in the region and our cofounder, Paul Allen, owns the team. But I thought it was even more fitting when I thought about the theme of the ad--how technology empowers people. Perhaps more so, the ad shows how our worldwide network of partners and even our customers use technology developed by Microsoft to create innovative, sometimes life-changing solutions that empower people. You see, we have a 12th Man too, and it’s you.

If you missed the ad, it starts out with a the computer generated “voice” of Steve Gleason, a former NFL player who is living with ALS. He is using a Surface Pro tablet computer that is running eye-tracking technology from Microsoft partner Tobii to help him navigate the keyboard. We see how this technology has given him back his voice. The ad goes on to show other examples of work by Microsoft partners to study a child’s gait, to help surgeons navigate a computer screen hands-free, or to tune a cochlear implant to restore hearing. In these and other examples we see how companies, researchers, and individuals use technologies developed here at Microsoft to make life better.

Some of the online comments I’ve seen about the ad are critical, saying that Microsoft is profiling solutions that the company didn’t invent, and certainly doesn’t sell. But you see, that is exactly the point. What makes the technology so empowering is not just the devices, solutions and services we invent and sell. It’s what millions of people around the world are doing with our technology—our partners and customers who use that technology as building blocks for their ideas, their inventions, for how they can build new businesses and improve the lives of people everywhere.

Just like the Seattle Seahawks, our energy comes from the 12th Man. And the 12th Man is YOU.

Here’s the Super Bowl ad, and others in the “Empowering” series. Let me know what you think.

Bill Crounse, MD                 Senior Director, Worldwide Health            Microsoft

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