Microsoft CEO Defends US Military Contract That Some Employees Say Crosses a Line

Megalith

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That letter from Microsoft employees arguing the company shouldn’t supply HoloLens technology to the US military was written in vain, as Satya Nadella has confirmed the $480M contract will go ahead as planned. The CEO told CNN the following during an interview at Mobile World Congress: "We made a principled decision that we're not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy. We were very transparent about that decision and we'll continue to have that dialogue [with employees].”

[Brad Smith, the company's president and chief legal officer] wrote in a blog post published last year on Microsoft's website that the company would help employees who didn't want to work on specific projects to switch to another part of the business. But he said the company would continue its "longstanding support" for the US Defense Department. "All of us who live in this country depend on its strong defense," he wrote in the blog. "The people who serve in our military work for an institution with a vital role and critical history."
 

B770

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[Brad Smith, the company's president and chief legal officer] wrote in a blog post published last year on Microsoft's website that the company would help employees who didn't want to work on specific projects to switch to another part of the business.


should be the unemployment line......
 

seanreisk

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The Department of Defense buys a lot of Windows computers, but I haven't heard any Microsoft butterflies complain about that.

I recognize the difference, one is a product placed on the market that anyone can buy, and the other is a product that someone is paying a lot of money to have modified to their needs. But there is a representative difference, too - these Microsoft employees are saying that they don't want to make products that will be used to kill people, but they don't recognize that they are also saying that they don't support the people with the risky job of protecting our democracy.

If you don't like what our soldiers are being asked to do you don't work to disarm them, you elect different leaders.


P.S. "Oh, little snowflake - you're too small and alone for people to appreciate your beauty. But if you get together with a lot of other snowflakes, you can become a Snowman! And then you'll discover the great irony that your veganism is only represented by your nose, which is a carrot. But your eyes and your smile are made from wonderful coal, mined right here in our great Northeast coal mines!"
 
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Maybe its just a generational thing, but it’s confusing to me that US citizens in a US company are upset the company would work with the US defense dept.
its the workplace version of "stop liking what i dont like"
so yes... to a certain degree its a generational thing
 

sfsuphysics

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its the workplace version of "stop liking what i dont like"
so yes... to a certain degree its a generational thing
Perhaps, could also be the workplace version of "Don't use my creativity as a tool that aids in killing others". That said, not knowing what the objects are specifically, it could be something as silly/stupid as "I don't like the current administration" too.
 

Wrecked Em

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Maybe its just a generational thing, but it’s confusing to me that US citizens in a US company are upset the company would work with the US defense dept.
Also keep in mind that 50% of their employees weren't born in the US.
 

tetris42

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The way I look at it, practically every major publicly-traded corporation is sociopathic at its core. That's how it is by design, the CEO has a fiduciary responsibility to raise profits at all costs or else he'll get fired by the board of directors. Sometimes this doesn't lead to anything particularly nefarious, other times it does. Point being, it's all the same shit. Everyone trying to act self-righteous about it turned in their principles at the door. They've already been supporting a corporation with no moral guidance. Either they accept the reality of that and get paid, or else don't work there.

Microsoft already has billions of dollars in tax avoidance. That alone probably has more real-world negative consequences and potentially lost lives than anything they'll be doing for the military since 1. It's on a much larger scale 2. The military would find another contractor anyway if Microsoft were to refuse. It's like an earlier poster said, thinking that objection to work on military contracts puts you in the clear ethically is just some Iron Man fantasy.

I guess my point in all this the purpose of publicly traded corporations is not to make ethical decisions, it's to make money, period. People work at them because they need to put food on the table. Working at one that doesn't manufacturer weapons in no way stops weapons from being manufactured, nor does it disincentivize carrying out war in the first place.
 

YeuEmMaiMai

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If employees don't like it, they are free to resign and look for employment opportunities elsewhere.
 

motomonkey

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Pretty sure they had paychecks before they had military contracts
Unless they hired in When Bill Gates started the company, No. MS has had military contracts for a long time. A military contract isn't just designing weapon systems, it's anything bought by the military, including software licenses, laptops, mice, etc.
 
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