JAPAN MICROSOFT
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Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, center, accompanied by Japanese university representatives during a joint press conference in Tokyo Tuesday, June 28, 2005. Gates said Microsoft is strengthening its partnership with Japanese universities to promote joint projects and exchange among researchers. An organization called the Microsoft Institute for Japanese Academic Research Collaboration is being set up July 1 to support exchanges between Microsoft's research unit and Japanese researchers to develop advanced technology for Japan and other global markets. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
updated 6/28/2005 7:55:30 PM ET 2005-06-28T23:55:30

Microsoft is strengthening its partnership with Japanese universities to promote joint projects and exchange among researchers, the American software company said Tuesday.

An organization called the Microsoft Institute for Japanese Academic Research Collaboration is being set up July 1 to support exchanges between Microsoft's research unit and Japanese researchers to develop advanced technology for Japan and other global markets, it said in a statement.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

The organization will provide support for various research efforts, and professors from Japan's top universities, including the University of Tokyo and Osaka University, were appointed to screen the projects.

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said the topics for research were open and may span areas outside software such as biology and the environment. Japanese research has potential in computer security, speech recognition and graphics, he told reporters at a Tokyo hotel.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., has had a partnership with Japanese universities for several years, providing curriculum based on Windows technology and giving lectures.

Microsoft officials did not give a monetary figure for its investment in the program but said it's part of Microsoft's larger investment in Japan, including research and partnerships with electronics makers.

Microsoft also announced Tuesday it has reached an agreement with Japan's Police Agency to cooperate in security-related computer technology. To cope with growing cyber-crime in Japan, Microsoft will offer security information about its software products to the police.

Microsoft will set up a hot line with the police to provide technology information and will also offer technology training for police officials, it said.

On Monday, Gates announced Microsoft and Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. will work together on next-generation DVD players as well as new models of personal computers. Gates is in Japan this week to meet academics and business leaders.

The move, while not exclusive, is a plus for HD-DVD, the next-generation DVD format backed by Toshiba that is competing against the Blu-ray Disc technology backed by Sony Corp. Microsoft has not joined either group.

Gates said Microsoft was staying "neutral" in the format battle, and it is unclear what impact the Toshiba-Microsoft deal will have on the long-term outcome of the format war.

Toshiba and Microsoft also signed a cross-licensing agreement that will allow them to cut costs and speed up product development by sharing technology for personal computers and video gadgets.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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