National digest: Gates says Microsoft is discussing lots of CEO candidates

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Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 12:00 am

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said he and other directors have met with “a lot of CEO candidates” to replace Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.

The board convened Monday to discuss some of the candidates, Gates said Tuesday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Bellevue, Wash., Ballmer’s last before he steps down. Gates said he wouldn’t give a timeline for the decision.

The world’s largest software maker is going through its biggest transition in decades, seeking a new leader while it adopts a new corporate structure focused on devices and services. Microsoft is also buying Nokia Oyj’s handset unit, its largest acquisition by number of employees. The new CEO will have to keep pace with a shift among consumers and businesses to mobile devices and Web-delivered software.

“It’s a complex role to fill,” Gates said. — Bloomberg News

There is no sign U.S. jobs statistics have been compromised by broad-based employee fabrication of data, according to the Census Bureau.

“We have no reason to believe that there was a systematic manipulation of the data described in media reports,” the agency said Tuesday in a statement.

An article in the New York Post alleged employment figures heading into the 2012 presidential election were manipulated. Under pressure from supervisors to boost response rates in the Philadelphia region, Julius Buckmon, a former Census Bureau employee, said he made up information for people he couldn’t reach two years before the 2012 election, according to the Post story. The newspaper, citing an unidentified source, said the practice went beyond a single employee, escalated in the year of the election and continues.

“The Census Bureau takesallegations of fraud by its employees very seriously,” according to the statement. The agency said it has reported the allegations to the Office of the Inspector General.

“We learned about the information today, and we’re reviewing the information contained in that article,” said Luiz Santos, the acting director of the division of congressional liaison and communications in the Department of Labor’s inspector general’s office. Santos said he could neither confirm nor deny whether the office had opened an investigation.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Census Bureau, announced it will open an inquiry into the matter.

The story is “obviously misleading,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday in response to questions from the press. He said he had “absolutely not” heard that there’s anything to the report.

— Bloomberg News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The U.S. Commerce Department has announced plans to open a long-awaited patent office in Silicon Valley, the world’s top region for patent filers.

Commerce officials said Tuesday the city of San Jose is donating two years of rent-free office space in San Jose City Hall, where more than 80 new patent judges and reviewers will help inventors and entrepreneurs cut through red tape. The California State Assembly Speaker’s Office is also donating $500,000 for the office.

San Jose is the nation’s top patent-producing city, with more than 7,000 patents sought last year, and California is the nation’s patent leader, with seven of the top 10 patent-producing cities. But for more than 200 years, patent seekers needed to visit offices in Alexandria, Va., to meet with a patent judge. — AP

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