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Microsoft 5

Microsoft 5

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Published by Ayesha Khan
Microsoft General Information
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Microsoft General Information
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Published by: Ayesha Khan on Feb 20, 2012
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04/30/2015

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Microsoft Criticism
Microsoft seems to dominate every market it enters through acquisition and aggressive business tactics. Many companies havefought legally against Microsoft including Apple Computer, Netscape, Opera, WordPerfect, and sun Microsystems, to name afew.
Perspectives
Labor practicesWhile Microsoft's permanent workers enjoy some of the best services and working condition, a large mass of workers existoutside this class. This includes the use of employees employed for years as "temporary," and, therefore without medicalbenefits. Many cost-saving measures have been used, including cutting medical benefits and not providing towels in companylocker rooms, for example.Microsoft has also been accused of overworking employees. The company is often referred to as a "Velvet Sweatshop," a termused to describe the company by some of Microsoft's own employees. The focus of the idea is that Microsoft provides nearlyeverything for its employees, but in turn overworks them to a point where it is considered dangerous for their long-term health.(Velvet Sweatshop is a job that offers good benefits but demands long hours.)
Brief summary of allegations
Microsoft is investigating reports that a factory making its products in China is forcing teenagers to work fifteen hour shifts insweatshop conditions. An investigation by a US based labour committee found that workers at the factory producing productsfor Microsoft were being ill treated. The workers were forced to sleep fourteen to a room and wash in a bucket. They also had towork long shifts, high temperatures and under strict conditions with very little pay.
 
Originally published April 14, 2010 at 4:35 PM | Page modi
ed April 15, 2010 at 2:55 PMMicrosoft's vendor accused of using underpaid teen labor in ChinaA U.S. labor group said this week that Microsoft has been contracting with a sweatshop in China that hires teenagers to make Microsoft mice for 65 centsan hour, 12 hours a day.By Sharon Pian ChanSea
le Times technology reporterA U.S. labor group said this week that Microsoft has been contracting with a sweatshop in China that hires teenagers to make Microsoft mice for 65 centsan hour, 12 hours a day.The National Labor Commi
ee, based in Pi
sburgh, researched, wrote and released the report "China's Youth Meet Microsoft" on Tuesday. It says workershave been working under these conditions since 2007.Microsoft responded in a statement Wednesday that it is "commi
ed to the fair treatment and safety ofworkers employed by our vendors." The companysaid it was aware of the report and has started an investigation."We take these claims seriously, and we will take appropriate remedial measures in regard to any
ndings of vendor misconduct," the company said.Charles Kernaghan, executive director ofthe organization and author ofthe report, said of his group's
ndings: "It sounded like torture.The frantic pace onthe assembly line, same motion over and over for the 12 hours or more of work they did."Kernaghan estimated that as many as 5,000 people worked in the factory, located in Dongguan, andowned by Taiwanese company KYE. While the factoryalso has female workers between 18and 25 years old,the factory also hired about 1,00016- and 17-year-olds on summer work-study programs fromhigh schools, the report said.The workers live in dormitories, and their meals are deducted from their wages, which brings their hourly wage to 52 cents, Kernaghan said. He estimatedthat the Microsoft mouse-ssembly line made 2,000 units a shift, with 20 to 30 workers on the line, and he calculated that each worker made 9 cents permouse. In 2009, workers reported to the labor group that they were working 83 hours per week.The National Labor Commi
ee workedon the report for more than sixmonths and cites interviews with anonymous factory workers. The report also hasphotos of Microsoft mice from a KYE assembly line.The report says workers estimate Microsoft accounts for 30 percent ofthe workin the factory. KYE also makes products for Hewle
-Packard, Kernaghansaid.Kernaghan said Microsoft has laws to enforce copyright and intellectualproperty ofits software, but has not brought the same enforcement tointernational labor laws. "We have a system that is skewed where the product is protected but human being is not," he said.In its statement, Microsoft said noncompliance with the company's vendor requirements could leadto "corrective action plans, remedial training,certi
cation requirements, cessation of further business awards until corrective actions are instituted, and termination of the business relationship."The National Labor Commi
ee is a nonpro
t that works on human-rights and labor issues internationally. In the past,it has pressured companies such asGap, Kathie Lee Gi
ff 
ord and Disney, Kernaghan said.
 
Inside Microsoft - A 'Velvet Sweatshop' or a High-Tech Heaven?Paul Andrews The Sea
le Times
 
April 23, 1989During last fall's United Way campaign at Microsoft, two vice presidents madea wager onwhose divisionwould generate themost contributions. Theloser, itwasagreed, would haveto swim the length of “Lake Bill,” a small arti
cial lake at theRedmond corporate campus named after Bill Gates, co-founder and chairmanoftheworld's No. 1 computer software company.Whenthe campaignwrapped up, however, there was disagreement aboutwho had won. Onedivision had pulled inmore money, butthe other had a higher percentageof giving. Statistically, both were claiming victory.To se
lethe dispute,it was decided thatbothhad “lost'' and would be forced to swim the lake. Atnoontimeonthe eventful day, employees crowded around theoversized pond to witness the proceedings. Pranksters, concerned thatthe lakemightbe too comfortable despite the38-degreelate-fall chill, threw inchunks of iceto lower its temperature.First up was the colorful Steve Ballmer, vicepresident for systems software, a great quipster who oncecalled Intel's 80286 computer chip “brain-damaged'' (anin- joke, folks). With dramatic
air, Ballmer slowly stripped down to red bikini shorts, dived in and splashed his way to the other side.Following him was Mike Maples, vicepresident for applications who had come to Microsoft after 23 years withIBM and conducted a sweeping reorganization creditedfor improving e
ciency and teamwork within thecompany. Maples removed his suitjacket, watchand shoes, emptied his pockets and, a
ired in a glistening wetsuit, jumped in amid the hoots, howls and cheers of onlookers.The incident, whichimmediatelyassumed a select placein the pantheon of Microsoftlegendary, illustrates onesideof thecompany's carefully fostered corporateculture. People who work there, from division managers to marketers to programmers to free lancers hired on a per-project basis, describe Microsoftas anexhilarating work environmentfed by adrenaline, constantbrainstorming and creativedrive. Workers wear whatever theywantto the o
ce, set their own hours and,because ofthecorporate campus' innovative X-shaped buildings con
guration,have windowed o
ces of their own.Inwarm weather peopledine outdoors and areentertained by the multiple talents of their fellow workers jugglers, unicyclists jousting with sticks and garbage-can lids and live music.If hunger should threatento interrupt an important project, each wing is supplied with a fast-food “7-Eleven'' equipped with a variety of snacks and beverages, thela
er provided free. For
tness bu
ff 
s, membership ina sports/health club just
ve minutes awayis a bennie. And no one wants for thelatesttechie toys: Nearlyeveryo
cehas atleasttwo computers - anIBM or work-alike ``clone,'' and anAppleMacintosh- and many havemore. It's not uncommon to see halfa dozenor more videomonitors si
ing on shelves and desktops in a single o
ce.All of this is in additionto considerablerewards -professional and material - associated withemployment at Microsoft. Many ofthosewho guided the companythrough its formative years during the early '80s became instant millionaires when its stock wentpublic in1986. Eventhose who joined Microsoftas recently as twoor three years ago now head entiredivisions. Evidenceofgrowthis everywhere, from bulldozers outdoors working ona new computer complex to workers asking fordirections in one ofeightsleeknew buildings at theheadquarters complex. The company, with$600 million insales and $125 million inpro
ts,nearlydoubled in sizelast year to 2,000 workers atthe corporatecampus and 3,800 worldwide. Although Gates has cautioned that pro
t margins will narrow because of greaterfocusing on research and development, which don't show immediate results on ledger sheets, few analysts see the company reaching a plateau for some time.Ask anyone who works there, and they'll tell you roughly the same thing. ``Microsoft is a great place to work,'' they will say, ``if you don't mind working a lot.''It is thesecond part of theequation that casts theonly shadow on Microsoft's corporate landscape. Thereis a di
ff 
erence betweenhaving funand venting nervousenergy, betweenriding anadrenaline high and running onempty, and insiders saythedemanding paceand push of thehigh-techfastlane eventuallyextract a heavytollon workers' well-being. The company's awesomegrowth - it had just200 employees as recentlyas 1983 - has produced an inevitableshare of winners and losers,and competitiveness remains highas rising stars jockey for controlof corporate
efdoms. Stock options during thecompany's early growthproduced numerouswealthysub-30-year-olds, and for a while bu
ons showed up on lapels bearing the inscriptionFYIFV, standing for ``F---You, I'm Fully Vested.'' Manyofthoseassociated withMicrosoft's early success,infact, have left thecompany-partly to exploreother opportunities, partly becausethey are
nanciallysecure, butalsobecause, they say, Microsoftsimplyexpects too muchin human terms from its employees. Oneformer executive has even talked about forming a support group for``recovering'' ex-Microsoft workers.``They have a glamorous reputationand have done someinnovative things involving partnerships,'' says AleneMoris, a Sea
le career consultant. ``But they alsostretchpeople to unbelievablelimits.It's always push, push, push, and thestakes are constantly being raised.'' A former Microsoft higher-up says derisively, ``If Microsoft is a greatplace to work for a corporation, that speaks pre
 ybadlyfor most corporations.''And an editor who interviewed for a position therecame away

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