• Microsoft is the largest software company, and develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a range of software products for numerous computing devices.
• Microsoft made Forbes' 2004 list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" and was praised for its diversity measures, particularly for offering domestic partner benefits to its gay and lesbian employees.
• Microsoft has been widely criticized for pandering to censorship in China.
• Microsoft has been accused of edging out competition by using substantial monetary donations from Bill Gates to secure a dominant place in the market in the US, as well as in Peru and India.
• The European Commission fined Microsoft $300 million in 2007 and $1.35 billion in 2008 for failing to implement the conditions of an antitrust policy.
• Get Microsoft to support human rights in China and explore ways you can make a difference by visiting Go Green.
-- Profile Updated 07/01/2010
As the #1 software company, Microsoft develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a range of software products for a multitude of computing devices. Based in Redmond, Washington, the company employs 71,000 people and reported revenues of $44.3 billion in 2006.
Electronics TakeBack Coalition
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition, formerly the Computer TakeBack Campaign, aims to protect the health and well being of electronics users, workers, and the communities where electronics are produced and discarded by requiring consumer electronics manufacturers and brand owners to take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products, through effective public policy requirements or enforceable agreements.
Economic Globalization and Human Rights
Amnesty International is calling on the public to urge Microsoft to stop assisting human rights abuses in China and around the world. In January 2006 Microsoft reportedly aided Chinese authorities in shutting down the weblog of Zhao Jing, a Beijing-based researcher for the New York Times. Zhao posted articles criticizing a management shakedown at Beijing News, as well as other topics that raised concern among the Chinese government. Microsoft blocks politically sensitive terms on its blog titles and search results and is criticized for helping the Chinese government identify and silence other dissidents. Click on the URL to take action now.
Corporacion Microsoft del Ecuador, S.A. - Quito, Ecuador
- FRX Software Corporation - Denver, CO
- Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Ltd. - Tokyo, Japan
Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Ltd. - Tokyo, Japan
- Microsoft (China) Co., Ltd. - Beijing, China
- Microsoft (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Microsoft (S.A.) (Proprietary) Limited - Johannesburg, South Africa
- Microsoft (Thailand) Limited - Bangkok, Thailand
- Microsoft AB - Kista, Sweden
- Microsoft Afrique du Nord - Casablanca, Morocco
- Microsoft B.V. - Schiphol-Rijk, Netherlands
- Microsoft Bilgisayar Yazilim Hizmetieri Limited Sirketi - Istanbul, Turkey
- Microsoft Business Solutions - Europe - Hellerup, Denmark
- Microsoft Business Solutions - Fargo, ND
- Microsoft Canada Co. - Mississauga, Canada
- Microsoft Caribean, Inc. - Guaynabo, PR
- Microsoft CH - Seoul, Korea (South)
- Microsoft Chile S.A. - Santiago, Chile
- Microsoft Colombia Inc. - Bogota, Colombia
- Microsoft Company, Limited - Tokyo, Japan
- Microsoft Consulting Services - Farmington, CT
- Microsoft Corporation (India) Private Limited - New Delhi, India
- Microsoft Corporation - Atlanta, GA
- Microsoft Costa Rica - San Jose, Costa Rica
- Microsoft d.o.o. Ljubljana - Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Microsoft Danmark ApS - Ballerup, Denmark
- Microsoft Deutschland GmbH - Unterschleissheim, Germany
- Microsoft EMEA - Paris, France
- Microsoft Federal Systems - Washington, DC
- Microsoft France S.A.R.L. - Les Ulis, France
- Microsoft Ges.m.b.H. - Vienna, Austria
- Microsoft Gulf FZ LLC - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Microsoft Hellas S.A. - Athens, Greece
- Microsoft Iberica S.R.L. - Madrid, Spain
- Microsoft Informatica Ltda. - Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Microsoft Ireland - Dublin, Ireland
- Microsoft Israel Ltd. - Herzliyya, Israel
- Microsoft Kft - Budapest, Hungary
- Microsoft Latin America - Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Microsoft Licensing, GP - Reno, NV
- Microsoft Mexico S.A. de C.V. - Mexico, Mexico
- Microsoft N.V., Belgium & Luxembourg - Diegem, Belgium
- Microsoft New Zealand Limited - Auckland, New Zealand
- Microsoft Norge AS - Oslo, Norway
- Microsoft Oy Suomi - Espoo, Finland
- Microsoft Philippines, Inc. - Makati, Philippines
- Microsoft Press - Buffalo, NY
- Microsoft Pty. Limited - Sydney, Australia
- Microsoft S.p.A. - Segrate, Italy
- Microsoft S.R.O. - Prague, Czech Republic
- Microsoft Schwaiz GmbH - Wallisellen, Switzerland
- Microsoft Slovakia S.R.O. - Bratislava, Slovakia
- Microsoft sp z.o.o. - Warsaw, Poland
- Microsoft Taiwan Corporation - Taipei, Taiwan
- Microsoft Venezuela S.A. - Caracas, Venezuela
- Microsoft Z.A.O. - Moscow, Russia
- MSFT-Software Para Microcomputadores, LDA. - Porto Salvo, Portugal
- MSN Carpoint, Inc. - Redmond, WA
- MSNBC - Secaucus, NJ
- Music Choice - Horsham, PA
- PlaceWare, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Mountain View, CA
- Windows Digital Media Division - Redmond, WA
Redmond, WA 98052-6399 USA
A new report by the National Labor Committee (NLC) alleges that a year investigation turned up evidence of child and slave labor at a factory in China that produces electronics for Microsoft. Allegations include hiring students 16 or 17 years of age to work 15 hours a week making web cams and mice, factory employees working up to 80 hours a week and getting paid just 62 cents an hour (52 once the cost of factory meals is deducted), and that managment controls all aspects of the workers' lives.
-- National Labor Committee, 04/13/2010
Source URL: www.nlcnet.org/alerts?id=0011
According to Global Labor Strategies (GLS), major corporations including Wal-Mart, Google, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Nike, General Electric, and Intel are “acting through business organizations like the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the US-China Business Council,” to lobby against China’s Draft Labor Contract Law. This new law proposed by the Chinese government aims to secure minimal labor standards for workers, such as enforceable labor contracts, severance pay regulations and negotiating power over workplace procedures and policies. A GLS report titled "Behind the Great Wall of China: U.S. Corporations Opposing New Rights for Chinese" notes that while the law will not eliminate labor problems in China, it would be an important step in improving a labor system lacking living wages, health and safety protections, and any legal contracts. Organizations representing US companies have threatened to withdraw business from China if such a law is passed.
-- Global Labor Strategies, 10/13/2006
Ethics and Governance
- In June 2000, a federal judge ordered Microsoft Corp.…
Microsoft has been criticized for its antitrust practices:
- In June 2000, a federal judge ordered Microsoft Corp. split in two, declaring the company to be an "untrustworthy" monopoly that continues to operate illegal business practices that push out competition and therefore harm consumers. In June 2002, a federal judge gave the nine states pursuing stiff antitrust remedies against Microsoft Corp. a significant victory by refusing to put an abrupt end to the states' case and by indicating she was seriously considering adopting some of the states' remedies.
- In June 2002, AOL Time Warner, which brought the Netscape browser to the forefront of the 1999 antitrust suit against Microsoft, sued Microsoft for anti-competitive actions
- According to Wired.com, in July 2002, Microsoft may have enlisted the US Ambassador to Peru to discourage the passing of a bill that would order Peruvian government systems to use open-source software. In a copy of a letter from the US Ambassador to the president of the Peruvian Congress, Wired News claims that the ambassador "expressed his dismay at the proposed legislation." Former head of Microsoft, Bill Gates concurrently donated $550,000 to Peru’s national school system. Peruvian critics have expressed their suspicions about the intent of this donation. Microsoft's investment in Peru is estimated at $50 million.
- The founder of Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, visited Bangalore, India in July 2002 to try to dissuade leaders from using Microsoft and other proprietary software companies. Locals, however, were reportedly unreceptive to Stallman’s suggestion that India adopt freely distributed software. Stallman attributes this attitude to Bill Gates’ concurrent visit India in which he donated money to federal and state governments, including $400 million to a computer literacy program.
- In March 2002, Sun Microsystems filed a private antitrust suit against Microsoft.
- In May 2003, Microsoft paid AOL Time Warner $750 million and agreed to share technology to settle the antitrust case.
- In July 2003, a judge granted preliminary approval of a $1.1 billion settlement between Microsoft and California consumers who alleged the company overcharged them for products.
- In September 2003, Microsoft paid $23.25 million to the defunct software company Be Inc. in a private antitrust case.
- In Oct. 2003, in response to the 1998 federal antitrust case against Microsoft in which 20 states and the District of Columbia sued Microsoft for allegedly predatory practices to protect its monopoly in personal-computer operating systems, judges granted preliminary approval to settlements in Kansas and the District of Columbia, involving vouchers of $32 million and $6.2 million. Preliminary settlements of approximately $200 million have been reached in North Carolina, Tennessee, North Dakota and South Dakota.
- In December 2003, the European Union held hearings in its antitrust proceedings against Microsoft.
- In March 2004, the European Union Commission declined Microsoft’s offer to settle its antitrust suit. The terms of Microsoft’s offer included a promise to ask all computer manufacturers in the European Economic Area to include two media player programs specified by the Commission on the hard discs of PCs. According to Corpwatch, the EU is now expected to rule that Microsoft has unfairly used its virtual monopoly over personal computer operating systems to elbow out rivals in the markets for computer server systems and Media Player software.
- In December 2003, the Seattle-based company RealNetworks filed a $1 billion antitrust suit against Microsoft, alleging Microsoft has been utilizing the same antitrust tactics that put the Netscape browser out of business in the late 1990s to eliminate competition in the market for digital media players.
- In November 2003, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced his intent to promote Linux open-source software, rather than Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, which charges software licensing fees. Currently, ten percent of Brazilians own a personal computer. Silva hopes to make technology more accessible to citizens by encouraging all sectors of government to use open-source programs with publicly and freely available feature codes.
-- Seattle Times, 12/18/2003
Source URL: none available
In August 2002, it was discovered that letters directed to Utah's Attorney General asking him to go easy on Microsoft's conduct as a monopoly were authored by dead people. The Attorney General's office in Utah, as well as in California, have investigated the company's involvement in a grassroots letter-writing campaign. According to a spokesperson from the Utah Attorney General's office, "It's an obvious corporate attempt to manipulate citizen input. You can just tell these were engineered. When there's a real groundswell, people walk in, they fax, they call. We get handwritten letters."
-- Los Angeles Times, 08/23/2001
Microsoft announced that it would appeal the latest fine of $1.35 billion from the European Commission. "We are filing this appeal in a constructive effort to seek clarity from the Court," said company legal spokesperson Jack Evans in an online statement.
-- Internet Wire, 05/09/2008
The European Commission levied a record $1.35 billion (899 million euros) fine against Microsoft for using high prices to discourage software competition. Microsoft is being sanctioned for failing to abide by the prescribed remedies in a 2004 commission ruling that the company abused the market dominance of its Windows software, and the executive arm of the European Union said the U.S. software group defied the 2004 order from Brussels to provide the information on reasonable terms. Microsoft's battle with the commission has cost the company more than $2.3 billion in fines.
-- New York Times, 02/27/2008
The European Commission has fined Microsoft $357 million after ruling that the corporation failed to implement changes outlined in a 2004 antitrust decision. As stated by Neelie Kroes of the European Competition Commission, “Microsoft has still not put an end to its illegal conduct. I have no alternative but to levy penalty payments for this continued non-compliance. No company is above the law.” Under the 2004 ruling, the Commission ordered Microsoft to pay a fine of $600 million and provide its rivals with confidential software code to ensure fair competition in the software sector. Microsoft is still fighting the antitrust ruling by charging high royalties to companies wanting access to Microsoft software codes.
-- BBC News, 07/12/2006
Source URL: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5171126.stm
According to the Social Investment Research Analyst Network (SIRAN), ten years after the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission recommended disclosure of diversity data as a way to remove barriers and promote women and minority advancement, most US companies still fail to fully disclose EEO data to the public. Microsoft is listed as one of the companies that does not provide full public disclosure. The company provides full disclosure only upon request.
-- Social Investment Research Analyst Network (SIRAN), 12/07/2005
Source URL: www.siran.org/projects_eeo_project.php
According to a report titled "Influencing Power: Reviewing the Conduct and Content of Corporate Lobbying" by SustainAbility and the World Wildlife Fund, Microsoft spent a total of $61.64 million in reported lobbying expenditures from 1998-2004. SustainAbility is a firm dedicated to analyzing the opportunities available to socially responsible investors, and the World Wildlife Fund is the world’s largest multinational conservation organization.
-- SustainAbility, 07/01/2005
In early 2001, nine current and former Microsoft employees sued the company, charging racial discrimination in three different lawsuits. A $5 billion lawsuit, filed by seven of the employees, alleges that black employees were passed over for promotions, paid less than their co-workers, experienced hostile work environments, and were subject to retaliation.
-- BBC News, 01/03/2001
Source URL: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1098683.stm
Human Rights Watch’s report “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” documents the ways in which companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and Skype assist and reinforce the Chinese government’s system of political censorship. Human Rights Watch recommends that internet companies working with China take measures such as developing and following a code of conduct that prohibits infringing on internationally recognized human rights, allows secure communication for websites and emails, and prohibits censoring material unless required by legally binding and written government request.
-- Human Rights Watch, 08/01/2006
Reporters Without Borders recently performed a series of censorship tests on Chinese versions of internet search engines on Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. The test showed that when searching for “subversive terms, such as “democracy” and “human rights,” 78 percent of the search results were from authorized sites. Reporters Without Borders concluded that while Microsoft does not appear to filter content by blocking keywords, these search engines refused to include sites considered illegal by the Chinese authorities.
-- Reporters Without Borders, 06/22/2006
Source URL: www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=18015
In 2004, Microsoft provided the Israeli government with confidential information on Mordechai Vanunu and his contact with foreign media. Vanunu previously served 18-years in prison for exposing Israel’s nuclear capabilities to the Sunday Times in the UK. He was released from prison but was banned from communicating with foreigners. Although the judge in the case ultimately chose not to use information from Microsoft in the trial, it remains in government hands and could still lead to renewed charges against him.
-- Amnesty International, 05/01/2006
MSN's Chinese web site reportedly blocks "forbidden speech" in compliance with restrictions set by the government of China. The MSN Web site sends an error message to anyone using words such as "demonstration," "democratic movement" and "Taiwan independence." The state-owned company Shanghai Alliance Investment partnered with Microsoft to create the Chinese arm of MSN.
-- c|net news, 06/13/2005