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On June 11, leading authorities on the World Wide Web will gather at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for an old-fashioned debate with a social media twist. The questions for discussion will be shaped and selected by the collective wisdom of Web users from around the world.

Tetherless World Research Constellation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

After delivering a keynote address, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, will join a panel of experts from academia and industry for a public discussion about the Web’s future. The content of the debate will be collaboratively created by Web users, who can submit questions and promote them through a user-based ranking system, similar to the community-based news site Digg. The most popular questions will drive the discussion at the June 11 debate.

The public debate, which will be streamed live via an interactive Webcast, is part of a daylong event to celebrate the launch of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer – a new academic center devoted to the emerging field of Web Science.
A wide range of issues are up for discussion, from sustaining the usefulness of the current Web to creating a next-generation Semantic Web, as well as the role of politics, education, and sociological factors in the Web’s continued evolution. Following introductory remarks by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, participants in the panel will be:

  • Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • Wendy Hall, vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery and senior vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • Nigel Shadbolt, former president of the British Computer Society and chief technology officer of Garlik.
  • Nova Spivack, high-tech entrepreneur and founder of Radar Networks.
  • Deborah McGuinness, Web language expert and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation.
  • James Hendler, one of the inventors of the Semantic Web and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation (moderator).

Members of the public are invited to submit and vote on questions until the day of the debate. During the discussion, viewers will be able to interact with the panelists by submitting follow-up questions and comments in real time. For details about this innovative event and how you can participate in the discussion, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu/launch.

Since its inception, the Web has changed the ways people work, play, communicate, collaborate, and educate, according to James Hendler, Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer. There is, however, a growing realization among researchers across a number of disciplines that without new research aimed at understanding the current, evolving, and potential Web, opportunities for new and revolutionary capabilities may be missed or delayed.

“If we want to be able to model the Web, if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth, and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, personal control over information, and respect for social boundaries, then we must pursue a research agenda that targets the Web and its use as a primary focus of attention,” Hendler said.

The Tetherless World Constellation will address this emerging area of Web Science, focusing on the Web and its future use. Faculty in the constellation will explore the research and engineering principles that underlie the Web, will enhance the Web’s reach beyond the desktop and laptop computer, and will develop new technologies and languages that expand the capabilities of the Web. They will use powerful scientific and mathematical techniques from many disciplines to explore the modeling of the Web from network- and information-centric views.

“Our goals will include making the next generation Web natural to use while being responsive to the growing variety of policy and social needs, whether in the area of privacy, intellectual property, general compliance, or provenance,” Hendler said. For more information about the Tetherless World Constellation, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu.

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Businesses today face a greater than ever need to differentiate themselves, often on a global scale. So how can they harness the acceleration of technology innovation instead of focusing solely on productivity tools for their employee’s desktops? One of the most common approaches is to seek out tailored business solutions capable of addressing complex business challenges. Today, Microsoft is focusing on those customer needs by addressing the way it serves its largest customers and delivers the value they need and expect.

Austen Mulinder, Microsoft Worldwide Enterprise Sales Vice President.As former head of Fujitsu Transaction Solutions, Austen Mulinder is bringing CEO leadership experience to his role as Microsoft’s vice president of Worldwide Enterprise Sales. His goal: Increase the velocity of the transition from the traditional product sales approach to one delivering increased business value built on deep customer relationships.

The foundation of this strategy includes three sales programs designed to counsel and support Microsoft’s largest customers as they solve real-world business challenges through IT. Microsoft’s PP recently met with Mulinder to learn how the Worldwide Enterprise Sales team is building its programs and talent to enable new opportunities for customers, partners and Microsoft.

  • You have the unique distinction of having been a CEO, as well as a customer and partner of Microsoft. How are those experiences influencing your strategy?

From my previous experience outside the company, I’ve been able to observe the journey Microsoft has taken over the past several years. Microsoft has gone from being primarily a desktop company to being a serious player in the enterprise. I’ve seen the company move away from a product focus and become more solution centric. I’ve watched the good advancements and the stumbles along the way. Microsoft has come a long way, and we now have the opportunity to provide deep strategic counsel to the world’s biggest global companies.

We aspire to be the industry benchmark for sales excellence and to attain “trusted advisor” status with all of our customers, but we recognize this is a journey. We have some of the smartest sales people I’ve ever come across, and a lot of strong tools supporting them. Now our focus is increasingly around building relationships that encourage deeper customer dialogues and greater transparency and sharing of information. This enables us to partner with our customers to jointly explore how to leverage technology for differentiated business value.

Our best (customer) account leaders, and we are fortunate to have many role models, have achieved trusted advisor status with their customers. We’re working hard to achieve that status with all of our customers.

  • Who sets the sales priorities, and how do those priorities translate to the sales resources you deploy?

A huge element of our effectiveness is being close enough to our major customers at the right levels to really understand their priorities and respond effectively. If we’re getting it right, customers will set the priorities.

Having said that, we have the Sales, Marketing and Services Group (SMSG) led by Kevin Turner, and he is ultimately responsible for driving the organization to be effective for customers, while at the same time delivering business results for our shareholders. In the enterprise space, part of Kevin’s team is Simon Witts, who runs the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. We also have two verticals, Public Sector led by Gerri Elliott and the Communications Sector led by Martha Bejar. They all have a tremendous influence on our sales priorities.

To carry out the broad strategies set by the leadership team, we want as many of our sales assets to be as close to the customer as possible, and so the vast majority of our customer-facing people report to the field, not to headquarters. We also have some major sales groups that make sense to lead from Redmond on behalf of Microsoft globally-the Incubation, Category and Specialist Sales team, the Global and Multinational Account Sales team, and the Sales Escalation team, with the vast majority of their team members based in the field.

  • Let’s talk about global accounts and multi-national companies. How does Microsoft engage with these customers?

The Global and Multinational Accounts program is currently focused on 50 of the largest corporations in the world, and we plan to double that over the next couple of years. The 50 global accounts are headquartered in 12 countries, and they have subsidiaries in another 90. We manage them globally, and each has a dedicated global business manager. The 50 accounts actually include support for some 850 companies, including downstream subsidiaries.

We give these accounts a heightened level of support because we see them as the ultimate proving ground for solutions that deliver real business value on a global scale. Within these accounts we are working to build a stronger strategic business relationship. We also increase their access to our product teams and senior executives at Microsoft.

Since I joined Microsoft in June of last year, I have talked extensively with many of the leaders of these global customers. What they want from Microsoft is to partner successfully to deliver solutions that drive real business value, whether that’s helping them innovate to differentiate themselves in the market, or reducing the total cost of ownership for IT

  • How do you incorporate newly acquired technologies, or those that haven’t reached the critical mass of flagship Microsoft solutions?

That is the job of our Incubation, Category and Specialist sales teams. The incubation program exists because our business groups are making huge investments in both new and acquired products. In the early lifecycle of these products, we typically don’t have enough resources for the field to deploy them on day one.

Incubation is a dedicated set of sales resources that we manage centrally in partnership with the field. Their focus is to develop the sales strategy and drive the adoption of these products so that we can achieve real critical mass and develop our expertise in servicing these customers.

When we’ve grown an incubation product to a large enough volume and level of capability, it moves under the Category sales team for strategic and operational leadership. We then move those resources directly into the field, where they are managed locally. We continue to work closely with the business groups and the field to take those products into the mainstream.

A great example of this process would be our acquisition of Softricity and their SoftGrid product – which we now call MDOP, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. Before the acquisition, Softricity, in several years of existence, had sold about 250,000 seats of Softgrid. Within 13 months using the Microsoft incubation sales capability model we sold more than five million seats.

  • How are you working with customers to sell, integrate and deploy specific solutions or products?

Historically the sales approach has been about selling and licensing products to customers, and enabling them to work out the deployment via the partner ecosystem. Now we are aligning our sales priorities with solutions, and bringing real expertise to bear against that goal. We have Specialist Team Units in the Incubation, Category and Specialist Sales team, who are sales resources with deep technical knowledge. We also have a Sales Escalation team, which is a group of highly technical consultants who can dive deeply into specific customer scenarios. We also partner closely with Microsoft’s product groups and business units to drive solutions that create real business value.

Ford Sync is an example where that broad partnership paid off for the customer. The account team who orchestrated the dialogue, together with the business groups, partnered with Ford to look at how they could differentiate themselves in the market for cars. Ford Sync took advantage of Microsoft’s mobile technology and voice recognition technology to create a unique offering. Today cars that are Sync-enabled far outsell those without that capability. So that’s a tremendous example of a solution we built with a customer, to help them serve their customers’ needs, and that delivered true business value.

  • How does your team address competing technologies?

To be effective advisors, considering the breadth of products that Microsoft sells and the number of markets we’re in, we need people with deep expertise in myriad technologies. This is where the Sales Escalation team comes in.

The Sales Escalation team contains many of the strongest technical resources in the company. Typically they’ve been hired from outside as experts in technologies that we interoperate with and compete with.

We manage over 3,000 escalations for our field each year, supporting them in competitive situations. Our subject matter experts help customers make the right buying decision based on factual comparisons of technical capability, total cost, and risk. These experts play a strong role in helping customers understand the full value of existing and new solutions. As part of these field engagements we also gather important customer feedback which we use to report back to Business Groups and product engineering teams to ensure that our products and partners constantly improve and become more compelling in the market.

This group is also highly sought after in our Executive Briefing Centers (EBCs), which are facilities we manage around the world to host enterprise customer meetings. Executive Briefings help Microsoft to go more deeply into a customer’s business needs and examine how technology can solve the challenges they face.

  • How does the enterprise sales group work with industry partners to enhance the overall value delivered to customers?

One of Microsoft’s biggest strengths in the marketplace over the past 25 years has been its broad and vibrant partner ecosystem. We have one of the largest partner channels in the industry, with thousands of partners worldwide deploying millions of IT, marketing, and sales professionals that carry Microsoft’s products to market.

The only way we can realize the full potential of the R&D we spend across industries is to ensure we have a healthy partner ecosystem that understands our product set and is skilled in deploying it. This has always been a cornerstone of our business.

Our account teams orchestrate the combination of service delivery by Microsoft and partners from the ecosystem. Many times the partner will take the lead, and we’ll support that. It’s key to understand that we drive a high percentage of our sales through and with our partner community, and that is not going to change.

As we move forward to evolve the software plus services model, Microsoft is defining new opportunities for the partner community to deliver value to customers. There will still be opportunities to resell, refer, add value through professional services, package with customized capabilities, and realize business growth through annuities and subscriptions, but there will also be abundant new opportunities for innovative, value-added services and customization as these hosted products roll out.

  • How does Redmond’s involvement in enterprise sales impact the enterprise customer experience?

In an ideal world, the field has major competency in all of our products and solutions, and doesn’t require support from Redmond. But in the real world , we’re forever evolving the overall value proposition and the product elements that make up that value proposition. Having key technical resources and key leadership from Redmond engaged in important customer opportunities brings benefits all around. The customers appreciate the access, the insight they gain from it, and the opportunity to influence our direction. The Redmond resources benefit from the connection to the real world of our customers and their experience with, and leverage of our products.

One of the ways we embed this connection into our way of doing business is through the Executive Sponsorship program that connects our most strategic customers and their Microsoft Account teams with Microsoft Executives. I am fortunate to be Executive Sponsor to a number of our Accounts and it is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my role. I know many of my peers feel the same way.

Our team works to provide that bridge. If we’re getting the sales model right, we will get a good mix of field leadership and Redmond involvement for the biggest accounts, so they feel they’re getting the best of all worlds from Microsoft. To that end there are a number of strategies, like those outlined here, that are being driven to create a more customer and sales centric environment in Redmond, and thus create a better platform to enable success in the field.

  • How else does Microsoft connect with customers at the enterprise level?

One of the things that impressed me the most as a partner and customer of Microsoft is the investment the company makes in connecting with customer executive teams. I knew that if I came to Microsoft seeking insight and information, the facilities would be first class, the content would be excellent, the quality of the people would be very high, and my team would leave with a better view of our overall technology and business strategy. Microsoft does an amazing job of that.

We had 20,000 visitors come to our eight EBCs globally last year, nearly half of them to the EBC in Redmond. Recently we expanded our Redmond capability with a 50 percent increase in capacity. This year we expect to host some 15,000 visitors in Redmond, representing about 2,000 discrete customers. That is a tremendous advantage in that it gives us the opportunity to deploy our A-team across many more customers than we could if they had to visit customer sites. If you look at the utilization and the feedback we get for our EBCs, we really leverage them to the hilt. The EBCs are one of our most strategic sales tools.

Additionally, we have 16 Microsoft Technology Centers around the world – which provide facilities, technology experts and a virtual deployment site for customer solutions – and we manage nearly 3,500 engagements annually in those centers. The success rate of when we prove out a customer solution in one of the MTCs is extremely high.

Microsoft is also known for running tremendous executive events. Every year we run the CEO Summit, the Global CIO Summit and the Global Account Summit, to name a few. These exclusive events bring together top business leaders with Microsoft executives and external thought leaders for unique business and technology discussions.

Through all of these venues, we create value for the customer, both now and in the future, with how we evolve our relationship and our understanding – by listening and engaging in deep discussions with them on a range of topics.

There are a huge number of assets that Microsoft Account teams can leverage to add value to our customers and build deeper relationships in the process. I have been very impressed with how fully utilized these capabilities are. It is a good indicator of the ever increasing level of customer centricity in how we do business, and as someone who enjoys customer connection more than any other aspect of my role; it is great to be part of this team.

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Bravo, Apple, Showtime, HBO, Absolut, and Levi’s, are the gay-friendliest brands, while WalMart, Dunkin Donuts, Cracker Barrel, Exxon Mobil, and Samsung earn the lowest marks from gay and lesbian consumers, according to the 2008 Prime Access/PlanetOut Gay and Lesbian Consumer Study released the other day.

HBO.Conducted by Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo on behalf of advertising agency Prime Access and PlanetOut Inc. (Nasdaq: LGBT), the survey is one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of gay and lesbian consumer habits and brand perceptions. A total of 2,259 adults aged 18-64 participated in the study, which was broken down into two panels: general population (1,502 respondents) and gay and lesbian population (757 respondents).

Prime Access is the leading advertising agency specializing in reaching the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. PlanetOut Inc. is the leading global media and entertainment company exclusively serving the LGBT community.

Lesbian Girls.The report confirms why many of the world’s most successful brands recognize that being gay-friendly equals good business. According to the study, more than two-thirds (68%) of gay and lesbian consumers said they are more likely to buy from a company they considered to be gay-friendly, a perception they base largely on a company’s advertising, followed by input from friends and the media.

The study also reveals that 71% of gay and lesbian consumers said they have a more favorable impression of companies or products that feature gay imagery in their advertising. Howard Buford, president and CEO of Prime Access, noted that Levi’s, one of the top gay-friendly brands, recently featured a gay couple in television advertising.

“The study reveals that gays and lesbians are fiercely loyal customers to brands they perceive as reaching out to them,” said Buford. “A marketing communications program directed at the gay and lesbian audience can be a significant opportunity for brands to build business.”

Kevyn Aiken, Vice President of Marketing, Media Sales at PlanetOut, said the study also confirms why gays and lesbians represent one of the most coveted and active demographics.

Apple Macbook Air.“Gays and lesbians have many similarities to straight people, with one pronounced difference: they’re more powerful consumers,” said Aiken. “In virtually every category – from financial services to fragrance – the study shows that gays and lesbians tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing new products and trends. They are early adopters that their peers look to for advice, opinions, and ideas. As a result of their influence, they impact many more purchases than just their own.”

For example, Aiken said the study revealed that gays and lesbians are almost twice as likely (60% vs. 34%) as their straight counterparts to say people seek their advice.

Among other notable findings in the 2008 Prime Access/PlanetOut Gay and Lesbian Consumer Report:

  • 8% of adults in the general population panel identified as gay or lesbian, reflecting conventional wisdom that 5-10% of adults are gay.
  • Sexual orientation is the primary community with which gays and lesbians identify. 47% of gays and lesbians said their sexual orientation is the community that most defines them, followed by gender (45%) and religion (28%). This compares to gender (36%), nationality (32%), and religion (30%) for the general population.
  • While almost three-fourths of both gays and lesbians and the general population are opposed to outing, 61% of gays and lesbians support outing if an individual is actively opposed to equal rights. Only 33% of the general population agrees.
  • 69% percent of gays and lesbians are Democrats, while 7% are Republicans.

The report also surveyed 3,156 PlanetOut subscriber and reader respondents, drawn from email promotable lists provided by PlanetOut. Notable findings among this group include:

  • 85% of PlanetOut respondents said they are more likely to purchase products from companies they know are gay-friendly.
  • PlanetOut respondents are 36% more likely than the general population to consider themselves “someone in the know”.

To view a summary of key highlights from The 2008 Prime Access/PlanetOut Gay and Lesbian Consumer Study, please visit: http://www.primeaccess.net/c2_gpr.php.

Methodology: The 2008 Prime Access/PlanetOut Gay and Lesbian Consumer Report is one of the largest, most comprehensive studies ever of gay and lesbian consumer habits and brand perceptions. The study was conducted by Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo, a leader in custom media marketing research. The respondents were sourced from both the Harris Interactive general population panel, one of the largest online panels available today, and from Harris Interactive’s GLBT specialty panel. A total of 2,259 adults aged 18-64 participated in the study, broken down as follows:

  • General population: 1,502
  • Gay and lesbian population: 757

The Harris Interactive GLBT specialty panel is recruited from various sources, and is not specifically enlisted from gay and lesbian websites. In addition, 3,156 PlanetOut subscriber and reader respondents, drawn from email promotable lists provided by PlanetOut, were also surveyed. The PlanetOut “universe” includes readers/subscribers of Out, The Advocate, gay.com, out.com, planetout.com and outtraveler.com.

An online methodology was selected primarily for the critical anonymity it offers respondents. Because online research allows respondents to complete surveys with anonymity and privacy, respondents are often more comfortable sharing their experiences and concerns.

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Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and college and high school graduations are right around the corner. If mom, dad or grads in the family unwrap a new Verizon Wireless phone this spring, there’s a simple solution for what to do with the old wireless phone: recycle it with Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine(R) program and help make a difference for the environment and domestic violence victims.

Verizon Wireless' National Recycling Program, Verizon Wireless HopeLine, Phone Collection.HopeLine, Verizon Wireless’ exclusive phone recycling and reuse program, accepts wireless phones and accessories in any condition from any manufacturer or service provider at any of the company’s Communications Stores nationwide. Phones are refurbished for reuse, or recycled in an environmentally sound way. Proceeds from the HopeLine program benefit survivors of domestic violence and non-profit advocacy agencies, providing essential communication tools through wireless phones and services and financial grants.

Verizon Wireless has HopeLine collection bins at all store locations where customers can drop off their no-longer-used phones. Customers can also send their old wireless phones and accessories to:

Verizon Wireless HopeLine
c/o ReCellular Inc.
2555 Bishop Circle W.
Dexter, MI 48130

Verizon Wireless HopeLine Logo.Since the October 2001 launch of Verizon Wireless’ national recycling program, the company has collected more than 4.5 million no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories, and provided nearly $5 million in cash donations to local domestic violence agencies nationwide. In addition, HopeLine has donated more than 60,000 wireless phones and 180 million minutes of wireless service to agencies across the country for use with clients.

For more information about Verizon Wireless and the HopeLine program, visit http://www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless Logo.Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 67.2 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: http://www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at http://www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

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Martin Dawes Systems, an international provider of solutions for the convergent communications market, announced the appointment of Sir Julian Horn-Smith to its board as a non-executive director. As a senior figure in global telecommunications, Sir Julian will have an influential role in assisting the company to advance its international development.

A pioneer and thought leader in the mobile communications arena, Sir Julian was one of the founding members of Vodafone Group Plc and played a leading role in building Vodafone into a successful international brand and business. He retired from the Vodafone board in July 2006 when he held the title Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

Welcoming Sir Julian to the board, the Chairman, Martin Dawes, said: “Sir Julian and I have worked closely together on many occasions since the launch of Vodafone’s UK network in 1985, when he appointed Martin Dawes Communications to be one of the first, and most successful, service providers to the new mobile network. He has unrivalled knowledge and experience of the global telecommunications industry and I am delighted that he has accepted the challenge of working with us as we continue to grow and develop our business as a global provider of choice to the telecoms sector and beyond.”

Commenting on his appointment, Sir Julian said: “I am pleased to be joining the board at such a significant time for the company and the industry in general. Martin Dawes Systems is already a leader in this space and I am excited to be part of this company as it continues to make significant strides in a dynamic and exciting global market.”

In addition to his role at Martin Dawes, Sir Julian Horn-Smith is a member of the board of Digicel Limited, the Caribbean and Pacific mobile telecoms operator, and a member of the advisory boards of The Company Agency and Altimo, the telecoms arm of Alfa Group, which has extensive investments, notably in Russia and Ukraine.

He is also a senior adviser to UBS Investment Bank, in London, and a non-executive director of the board of Lloyds TSB Group Plc.

About Martin Dawes Systems

Martin Dawes Systems is a leading software and services vendor specialising in billing and subscriber management solutions for the convergent communications market. Combining an informed and inspired approach with robust and proven systems, Martin Dawes Systems offers service providers attractive propositions that build customer loyalty and increase ARPU. Employing the latest technology and solutions, Martin Dawes Systems helps its customers drive revenues up while keeping operational costs to a minimum. Its company philosophy is one of partnership to promote enduring business relationships and mutual opportunities for growth. Headquartered in the UK, Martin Dawes Systems operates internationally from offices in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

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TechWeb, the global leader in business technology media, announced that Internet Evolution, a Web 2.0 site dedicated to investigating the future of the Internet, has added exclusive access to a mobile blog – entitled “Alan Reiter’s Wireless Web World” – for readers from their wireless devices only. For access to the Internet Evolution mobile site from a wireless handset, visit: http://www.internetevolution.com/mobile/.

Alan Reiter's Wireless Web World.The blog, written by Alan Reiter, President of Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing, a consulting firm that helps wireless data businesses in the United States and abroad, will cover a wide range of wireless Internet subjects, including wireless email, games, music, videos, location technologies, 3G/3.5G/4G, online applications for phones, social networking, privacy/security, mobile browsers, mobile marketing/advertising, femtocells and wireless UMPCs/MIDs/subnotebooks.

“We launched this killer blog in response to our readers’ voracious appetite for wireless access to news,” said Stephen Saunders, Internet Evolution creator and blogger. “This is the latest example of our commitment to provide our audience with critical Internet-focused information in what they select as the most effective delivery method.”

About Internet Evolution

Internet Evolution hosts more than 100 world-famous Internet experts – such as Kevin Mitnick, once the most-wanted computer hacker in the world; Dr. Lawrence Roberts, inventor of packet switching, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on telecom network architectures; Jack Uldrich, futurist, scholar, and author; Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.com; David Weinberger, technologist and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto; Howard Schmidt, former White House cybersecurity adviser; and Norman J. Ornstein, political scientist and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) – all of whom are addressing today’s critical socio-economic issues within its ThinkerNet blogosphere. Internet Evolution also offers broadcast-quality broadband video documentaries and interviews; investigative reports; and user-generated content facilitated via the latest Web 2.0 technology. Internet Evolution is a joint production of Light Reading, the world’s leading publishing, event and research company focusing on communications service providers and InformationWeek, the largest, most influential community of IT buyers and providers, focusing on driving and setting the agenda for business innovation powered by technology.

About TechWeb

TechWeb.TechWeb, the global leader in business technology media, is an innovative business focused on serving the needs of technology decision-makers and marketers worldwide. TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed media brands in the business technology market. Today, more than 13.3 million* business technology professionals actively engage in our communities created around our global face-to-face events Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat and VoiceCon; online resources such as the TechWeb Network, Light Reading, Intelligent Enterprise, InformationWeek.com, bMighty.com, and The Financial Technology Network; and the market leading, award-winning InformationWeek, TechNet Magazine, MSDN Magazine, Wall Street & Technology magazines. TechWeb also provides end-to-end services ranging from next-generation performance marketing, integrated media, research, and analyst services. TechWeb is a division of United Business Media, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

*13.3 million business decision-makers: based on # of monthly connections.

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Daniel C. Petri, group president – International, has announced plans to retire after 37 years with Verizon Communications Inc., effective Aug. 1.

Since 2002, Petri has had overall responsibility for Verizon’s businesses outside the United States, including telephone operations in more than 20 countries on five continents. His mission over the last several years has been to optimize the operational and financial performance of these international telephone operations. At the same time, he has helped Verizon rationalize its portfolio of international affiliates as the company has shifted its global emphasis to providing advanced communications services to businesses and governments around the world.

“Dan has distinguished himself as an astute operational executive and negotiator in diverse and often difficult business environments,” said Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg. “He has provided leadership and business acumen to Verizon during a period of rapid transformation. We will miss his wisdom and his counsel, and we wish him the best.”

Dan Petri, Verizon Group President.Petri said, “I have had the privilege of watching our company evolve from a sleepy monopoly to a raging global competitor. It has been great to be part of the change that has taken place, to help set the stage for further transformation, and to share the experience with such wonderful people. I want to thank all my friends and colleagues for the experience and the fun.”

Petri will spend the next three months helping Verizon manage existing international investments, including the company’s 23 percent stake in Vodafone Italy. He will also continue to oversee the operation and eventual disposition of Verizon Airfone, which provides in-flight telecommunications services in the general aviation market.

Petri started his career with Verizon predecessor company New York Telephone in 1971 and served in a variety of positions in the domestic telephone business, becoming vice president and general manager for operations in midtown Manhattan in 1991. Since 1994 he has been a senior executive in Verizon’s International division.

A graduate of Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and Long Island University with a master’s degree in management science, he currently also serves as vice chairman of the Business Council for International Understanding, an organization formed in 1955 to strengthen ties between the U.S. Government and U.S. business interests overseas.

About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving more than 67 million customers nationwide.

Verizon’s Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation’s most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit http://www.verizon.com.

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