Did you know that by converting from Windows XP to Windows Vista, you are helping the environment? I didn’t either but Jan Meuhlfeit, Microsoft’s European Chairman, says it’s so. (So it must be, right? lol) Apparently the power saving features in Vista can add up to some environmental savings. "100 million PCs running Vista rather than previous Windows incarnations," he said, "was equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road in terms of CO2 emissions." Who knows just how accurate that statement really is but little improvements in conservation can quickly add up when applied on an individual, community, corporate, national or global scale.
Meuhlfeit, while speaking at Green Strategy 08, also talked about the amazing success president elect Barack Obama had at using the Internet to communicate and raise funds (86 percent) leveraging the Internet. It’s clear the Internet can, and probably will be, a huge asset in communicating and driving activism in causes like the green movement, AIDS prevention (Monday is World AIDS Day, btw) and other causes.
At Microsoft PDC, principal researcher Feng Zhao demonstrated a wireless battery operated heat sensor they wired up in the presentation hall for monitoring cooling needs during the conference. He then extended that into other uses for the environmental device, both inside and outside buildings, and of course all kinds of data center and computer cooling applications.
Does all this mean Microsoft is a warm and fuzzy anti-global warming waste-buster? Eh, not. But Microsoft could take some of its own advice from Jan Meuhlfeit and become a demonstrable leader in conservation and improving our environment. Do that and become highly active in environmental causes and activism on the Internet. But it will take a lot more than one presentation at a conference, building some “greener” data centers in Iowa, and filling the world with wireless heat sensors.
There’s a lot more work to do and Microsoft’s got to be much more proactive about their green efforts. Apple’s already touting the greenest computer in their latest laptop. Is “green” the next battlefield for Microsoft, Apple and Google to slog it out in. Being an activist for a healthier planet, I wouldn’t mind that a bit. But Microsoft can’t wait for Apple or Google to win the PR war and leave Microsoft backed into a corner because they didn’t do anything.