Microsoft Institute of Technology (MIT)
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Date: Fri, 31 Mar 1995 15:21:15 -0500
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Redmond WA and Cambridge MA, Mar 30 -- Microsoft Chairman William
Gates announced today a multi-billion dollar research and academic
support initiative in connection with the Massachusetts Institute of
The complex transaction includes funding in support of directed
research, stock gifts earmarked for endowment growth, uncommitted cash
gifts, and Microsoft stock, stock options, and stock warrants. It has
been the subject of secret negotiations between MIT and Microsoft for
over a year.
Due to the varied types of financial instruments used in the
transaction, negotiators cannot put an exact value on it, but it
includes over $1.4 billion up front, and is expected to top $4.4
billion by early 2001. The funding reportedly comes from both
Microsoft corporate coffers and the estimated $8 billion private
fortune of Chairman Gates.
In a related announcement, MIT President Charles Vest hailed the
bright new future the funding would usher in, and announced that
the venerable institution would be changing its name to become the
Microsoft Institute of Technology.
"Maintaining technical and research excellence into the next
millennium is an unbelievably expensive proposition," said Vest.
"With MIT's comparatively small endowment and the shrinking Federal
support for research, we realized we could not go it alone. We
welcome our new corporate partner."
"We are aware that this puts the future of many of our other corporate
partnerships in doubt; however, this one partnership is worth many
times the value of all our other partnerships combined," said Vest.
He continued: "The name change is an insignificant issue. Duke did
the same thing years ago to secure their future. Besides, we're still
Gates pronounced himself "extremely satisfied" with the arrangement.
"MIT has supplied us with many talented individuals; now perhaps
students can become familiar Microsoft earlier in their academic
careers," he stated. "What's more, we gain unencumbered access to
MIT's intellectual property; particularly their software patents, and
prior art," Gates enthused; "Software is a unique form of invention.
The name of the game there is proof of prior art. If you have that
you can bust other people's patents and strengthen your own."
Elsewhere, in an informal talk on intellectual property, Microsoft
Corporate spokeswoman April Shibboleth said that within a few years
she expects Microsoft to become the world's largest law firm. "It's
true our primary business is software," she said, "but the field is
becoming more litigious daily. Our in-house law department is the
fastest growing department in the company. If it stood alone it would
be in the top 4% of law firms."
When asked if MIT was considering opening a School of Law, President
Vest had no comment.