Microsoft in town for corporate business, hockey game fundraiser
By Mindy Hagen
With more than 11,500 delegates from across the globe using 45 hotels, Microsoft Corp. is descending on Miami Beach for its largest-ever corporate meeting.
The Seattle-based software, services and Internet technology provider, is holding its Global Briefing this week through July 20 in the Miami Beach Convention Center, with business sessions and entertainment scheduled for the American Airlines Arena and Miami Arena. It is the first joint summit for two annual meetings: one from its sales division and the other for the technical staff.
William Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the total economic impact of the convention would be $20 million to $24 million.
"This is as important a convention as our destination has ever had," Mr. Talbert said. "It is short-term, corporate, high-tech and during the summer. It is exactly the kind of business Miami is suited for."
Mr. Talbert said the bureau is discussing other events with Microsoft in the future.
"We look forward to having future Microsoft meetings held in Greater Miami as a result of the success of this meeting," he said.
Global Briefing is open to Microsoft employees from all of the firm's 59 countries. With more than 40,000 employees worldwide, in 2000 Microsoft had a net income of $9.42 billion.
During their stay in Miami, Microsoft officials said they want to give something back. On Sunday, employees will watch and participate in a hockey game at the Miami Arena and donate the profits to the Ronald McDonald House and Companions in Courage, a National Hockey League cancer-research charity.
The game will be open to Microsoft employees only and organizers hope to attract 5,000 convention-goers, said Sasha Schanbel, program coordinator for the hockey challenge. The game will feature the company's US-based charity team called Microsoft.net against a group of employee challengers from Canada.
Steve Fox, captain of Microsoft.net and chief strategist of the company's hockey challenge, said the team was challenged a few months ago by the Canadians for a showdown at the global briefing.
"We hope this will be a morale-boosting event for Microsoft and a fun, spirited game," Mr. Fox said.
Mr. Fox said the hockey challenge program did not set a goal for the amount of money to raise at the event, but that a similar one last year in Seattle raised $1.25 million.
Before choosing Miami for the corporate meeting, Microsoft officials looked at Las Vegas and New Orleans as possible sites.