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Microsoft Reverses Stand on Discrimination Bill

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the listening-to-their-constituents dept.

Microsoft 374

sriram_2001 writes "Bowing to intense pressure both from outside as well as its employees, Microsoft has reversed its stand on the anti-discrimination bill. In a company wide email, Steve Ballmer says that though the Washington legislative session is over for the year, they'll support any such legislation in the future. However, he adds that they'll be supporting it in the US only as they don't want to involve the company in debates in countries with different cultures and value systems. He also says that he doesn't think Microsoft should be involved in most public policy issues." Announcement about the email's release on the Scobleizer main site.

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Before it gets Slashdotted... (5, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454288)



Here's the full text of the email (with the spacing errors corrected).




Microsoft's principles for public policy engagement


During the past two weeks I've heard from many of you with a wide range of views on the recent anti-discrimination bill in Washington State, and the larger issue of what is the appropriate role of a public corporation in public policy discussions. This input has reminded me again of what makes our company unique and why I care about it so much.

One point really stood out in all the emails you sent me. Regardless of where people came down on the issues, everyone expressed strong support for the company's commitment to diversity. To me, that's so critical. Our success depends on having a workforce that is as diverse as our customers - and on working together in a way that taps all of that diversity.

I don't want to rehash the events that resulted in Microsoft taking a neutral position on the anti-discrimination bill in Washington State. There was a lot of confusion and miscommunication, and we are taking steps to improve our processes going forward.

To me, this situation underscores the importance of having clearly-defined principles on which we base our actions. It all boils down to trust. Even when people disagree with something that we do, they need to have confidence that we based our action on thoughtful principles, because that is how we run our business.

I said in my April 22 email that we were wrestling with the question of how and when the company should engage on issues that go beyond the software industry. After thinking about this for the past two weeks, I want to share my decision with you and lay out the principles that will guide us going forward.

First and foremost, we will continue to focus our public policy activities on issues that most directly affect our business, such as Internet safety, intellectual property rights, free trade, digital inclusion and a healthy business climate.

After looking at the question from all sides, I've concluded that diversity in the workplace is such an important issue for our business that it should be included in our legislative agenda. Since our beginning nearly 30 years ago, Microsoft has had a strong business interest in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest and most diverse workforce possible. I'm proud of Microsoft's commitment to non-discrimination in our internal policies and benefits, but our policies can't cover the range of housing, education, financial and similar services that our people and their partners and families need. Therefore, it's appropriate for the company to support legislation that will promote and protect diversity in the workplace.

Accordingly, Microsoft will continue to join other leading companies in supporting federal legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation -adding sexual orientation to the existing law that already covers race, sex, national origin, religion, age and disability. Given the importance of diversity to our business, it is appropriate for the company to endorse legislation that prohibits employment discrimination on all of these grounds. Obviously, the Washington State legislative session has concluded for this year, but if legislation similar to HB 1515 is introduced in future sessions, we will support it.

I also want to be clear about some limits to this approach. Many other countries have different political traditions for public advocacy by corporations, and I'm not prepared to involve the company in debates outside the US in such circumstances. And, based on the principles I've just outlined, the company should not and will not take a position on most other public policy issues, either in the US or internationally.

I respect that there will be different viewpoints. But as CEO, I am doing what I believe is right for our company as a whole.

This situation has also made me stop and think about how well we are living our values. I'm deeply encouraged by how many employees have sent me passionate emails about the broad respect for diversity they experience every day at Microsoft. I also heard from some employees who underscored the importance of feeling that their personal values or religious beliefs are respected by others. I'm adamant that we must do an even better job of pursuing diversity and mutual respect within Microsoft. I expect everyone at this company - particularly managers - to take a hard look at their personal commitment to diversity, and redouble that commitment.

The questions raised by these issues are important. At the same time, we have a lot of other important work to do. Over the next 18 months we'll release a broader, more advanced and more exciting set of products than at any time in the company's history. Let's all recommit to the job ahead, using our diversity as a strength to work together creatively and with respect for each other.

Thanks.

Steve

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (1)

DelawareBoy (757170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454322)

Who will be the first slashdotter to suspect evil?

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454567)

Who will be the first slashdotter to suspect evil?

Total global domination means dominating allpeople, not just those of similar race, religion and sexual preference. They're equal opportunity evil.

Plus, if you want to rule the world you've got to be pragmatic about it. I mean, if I'm an evil genius and I've got a scientist who is integral to my plans, I'm not gonna be like "Whoa, Doctor Cyclops, as much as I respect the work you've done in perfecting the Orbital Neutron Death Ray, we here at SPECTOR just feel that your homosexuality sends the wrong message about our values as an evil conspiracy out to destroy the world. Take your mad scientist skills elsewhere." Good help is hard to find.

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (3, Interesting)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454336)

Woo, thanks. All of the people saying that MS got scared into submission were clearly fools now. MS didn't support the bill for their stated reason -- they didn't feel like spending legal money on public policy. But since it's clearly important to people, they're going back and supporting it. I don't believe MS is evil, any more. They were once upon a time, but I think that something's fundamentally changed over there. Even that psycho Ballmer is, I think, starting to see the light of sanity.

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (4, Funny)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454447)

Even that psycho Ballmer is, I think, starting to see the light of sanity.

I dont think that comment is very respectful to the personal values or religious beliefs of the insane.

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454690)

I don't believe MS is evil, any more. They were once upon a time, but I think that something's fundamentally changed over there.

A serial killer who one day decides to donate blood ... is still a serial killer.

Stranger than Fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454533)

The Stranger reports that a prominent gay employee has quit [thestranger.com] in the midst of all this. Weeks ago, they wrote that Microsoft was going to support the Washington legislation until a local minister, Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, threatened he would organize a nation wide boycott [thestranger.com] They also followed up with a story about the two parties later providing widely different versions of their meeting. [thestranger.com]

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454556)

karma karma karma karma chamele-whore, you come and go, you come and go...

Re:Before it gets Slashdotted... (1)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454628)

I thought the spacing issue was an anti-firefox feature ;-)

ie. It look perfect on IE

e-i-e-i-o

It's not Perversion... (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454289)

He also says that he doesn't think Microsoft should be involved in most public policy issues."

Only those which involve guaranteeing a continual source of piles of money large enough to roll around naked in.

i wonder where they stand on evolution/creation regarding monkey-man Ballmer [jokaroo.com] ...

Re:It's not Perversion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454410)

Wow, the more I see him doing that the more embarrassed I am for all of mankind.

Re:It's not Perversion... (2, Interesting)

Bongzilla (458471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454535)


neutrality is unamerican!!! get off the fence microsoft!!!!

Better late than never [N/T] (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454291)

no text

Re:Better late than never [N/T] (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454577)

No, it's not. Better never than insincere:

To gays: You have our support!
From opposition groups: Hey, you're a business, not a charity! Stick to business-related stuff!
To the world, loudly: Oops! Changed our mind. We're a business, not a charity.
To gays, quietly: ...until next time, but we'll be sure to support you then, honest!

I'd be hard-pressed to imagine a more two-faced reaction to the whole episode. You can't just support something whenever it's popular; either be for it, or against it, or stay out of the discussion altogether.

Re:Better late than never [N/T] (1)

MrP-(at work) (839979) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454604)

"no text"

Liar!

Re:Better late than never [N/T] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454784)

me too!

So is microsoft not evil (4, Funny)

JahToasted (517101) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454295)

And google is evil now? It's like bizaro slashdot.

Re:So is microsoft not evil (3, Informative)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454418)

Nope, they are just less evil.

No one is all evil, not even John Travolta.

Re:So is microsoft not evil (1)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454572)

Even Paris Hilton ?.

Re:So is microsoft not evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454623)


Even Paris Hilton ?.


stupid != evil

Re:So is microsoft not evil (3, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454647)

John Travolta is likeable, and is the only white man who learned to dance.

How about Tom Cruise? Isn't he all evil?
Examples:
-dances in underwear
-even at 40 still looks as cute as he was at 20
-dumped Kidman
-shagged Cruse
-about to shag Holmes

I'm sorry it's offtopic, but I think the question does have some merrits for discussion. (Even Tripmaster Monkey would agree to that!)

Re:So is microsoft not evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454801)

Not to mention... Cruise is in the Scientology cult.

Re:So is microsoft not evil (1)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454685)

So let me get this straight... MS first supported that bill and just before the support would actually have meant something, they dropped it, just to resume it again when it has no political consequenze? How nice of them...

Re:So is microsoft not evil (1)

Nifrith (860526) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454591)

google is evil now?

And in this bizzaro world, Google has a goatee, that's how you know they're evil. "Do No Evil", hah. Gonna get bizzaro (goatee-less) General Zod on to them!

Re:So is microsoft not evil (1)

jjr1 (691500) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454637)

Is it april 1st again?

Official Email Location (5, Informative)

Saige (53303) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454312)

In case anyone wants full confirmation, the email is also located on Microsoft's web site [microsoft.com] .

It's a good day for some of us Microsofties that were really upset at what happened.

Re:Official Email Location (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454379)

Thanks for the link...I ws trying to find corroboration myself, but was unable to.

As to it being a good day, I suppose so.....about as good as when Coca-Cola announced Coke Classic after the universally-reviled New Formula (yes, I'm dating myself here).

Actually, the similarities are a bit eerie, don't you think?

Re:Official Email Location (3, Funny)

MagicM (85041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454464)

I think it's a bit eerie that you're dating yourself, personally.

Re:Official Email Location (2, Funny)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454666)

Well, it does avoid all those tedious "your place or mine" discussions...

Re:Official Email Location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454759)

What? Are you kidding me? My left hand is still not talking to me since I visited my right hand last night!

Re:Official Email Location (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454486)

I submitted the story myself (and was rejected) right before they posted it - because I waited until I saw that Microsoft had actually made the letter available outside the company, as I figured it was very important to have that formal statement to really show it's happening.

It's been a great morning, and a lot of people who were very upset earlier this morning are feeling much happier now. It shows that the company truly is committed to diversity and supporting ALL their employees.

And yeah, I know some employees are going to feel like this is NOT supporting them, but to be fair, supporting us doesn't mean supporting discrimination for those who disagree with us - which is what it would have been if they supported the other side. The company knows they'll have trouble attracting the best employees if some of them have to face discrimination in housing and such.

Re:Official Email Location (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454450)

You know Microsoft is using that email to test their new email tracking system. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone on the list you will receive $1000 and a copy of Windows Longhorn at Bill Gates' expense.

Re:Official Email Location (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454782)

I only sent it to 100 people and I got 10 copies of Longhorn.

Apolitical Stance (but only when convenient) (5, Funny)

ewhac (5844) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454341)

He also says that he doesn't think Microsoft should be involved in most public policy issues.

"...Unless the public policy in question is copyright or anti-trust law. Then we're all over it."

Schwab

oblig. simpsons quote (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454597)

Mayor Diamond Joe Quimby at press conference...

Ever since I called for the rescue of that Simpson lad, I have taken a lot
of heat. So, I am flip-flopping! I say, let him stay down there!

Apolitical Stance (but only when convenient) pt 2 (1)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454732)

He also says that he doesn't think Microsoft should be involved in most public policy issues.

Except for when they got involved with this in the first place by placing their initial support.

Hey M$, don't start nothin, won't be nothin.

Re:Apolitical Stance (but only when convenient) (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454764)

Uh, that is exactly what he says. It's not "convenience" it's "good for their shareholders":
First and foremost, we will continue to focus our public policy activities on issues that most directly affect our business, such as Internet safety, intellectual property rights, free trade, digital inclusion and a healthy business climate.
You might disagree with them, but there was nothing unclear about their position.

Uh... y'know (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454342)

I'm bisexual, and I hate Microsoft.

But... frankly I just can't get myself to care about this particular issue. At all. We don't exactly *need* Microsoft's support. As long as they're not actually holding a stance *against* the discrimination bill, and they are using nondiscriminatory hiring practices themselves, I think that's just fine. Those that are not against us are for us (in this case more than many others). Honestly my response when Microsoft dropped their support of the bill was "well, it was awfully nice of them to support it up until the point where they stopped". Now, well, I'm not expecting Microsoft to take any action one way or the other on this bill, but it's nice of them that they will anyway.

There's plenty of companies who aren't taking a stand on this discrimination bill without anyone noticing; there's plenty of reasons to dislike Microsoft and their business practices without having to drag in minutiae of the actions of their lobbyists. Let it go.

Re:Uh... y'know (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454476)

Very well craft troll. Bravo!
Though I woulda have hinted that I was a bisexual FEMALE, and, therefore, garner a faster response and quicker upmods (but, then again, that would have made it look more trollish).

Re:Uh... y'know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454505)

I am not a female.

Re:Uh... y'know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454548)

Neither am I.

Re:Uh... y'know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454580)

Me neither.

Re:Uh... y'know (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454600)

Since we are all on slashdot, I guess none of this is really surprising.

Re:Uh... y'know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454725)

I am! .... oh wait, hang on while I check something.... oops, sorry, I'm a guy too.

Re:Uh... y'know (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454609)

> We don't exactly *need* Microsoft's support.

Um, well, yes you do. Not Microsoft specifically, but corporate support, because when all THREE houses of government are dominated by republicans, there will be an absolute frontal assault on your liberties. Frankly, democrats aren't much better, though they're usually content to do nothing rather than actively foster bigotry. It's corporations who buy the big group insurance policies, so it's they, not the government, who will determine whether your partner can get health care from your coverage or not.

Re:Uh... y'know (2, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454639)

I'm bisexual, and I hate Microsoft.

Makes me wonder- which would be easier to admit on this forum: loving someone of the same sex, or loving Microsoft?

Re:Uh... y'know (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454691)

I like your comment. It's to the point, which I believe is the same as mine:

Companies, businesses etc. should not be involved in any political arena unless it's directly or indirectly involving of their business products, laws regarding their products (IP, etc.) and such.

Businesses that get involved in moral/controvercial issues with the general public, whether local or nationwide, in my opinion, is just wrong and innappropriate.

=) Businesses are in the market to make money, build products and support them. Not to have a stance on such issues.

Only if the company is being discrimanatory in hiring for things beyond security or qualificiations should someone/govt. interfere. And no, I don't support affirmative action either. That in itself is discriminatory and a band-aid to the solution/problem of discrimination.

Re:Uh... y'know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454734)

This bill is about hiring practices. Hiring practices such as those observed by Microsoft. Microsoft is directly effected by this legislation-- they will have to abide by it. Isn't it reasonable for them to have an opinion on the bill?

What's the F/OSS stand on the bill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454372)

We need to outphilanthropize M$!!

sounds reasonable.. (3, Insightful)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454389)

that sounds like a reasonable stance..

.. although I must admit I find the notion of allowing discrimination in the first place abhorrent, and it goes to show how different the different meanings of 'freedom' are

Freedom to oppress, or freedom from oppression?

Re:sounds reasonable.. (-1, Flamebait)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454495)

Usually "discrimination" referrs to treating things differently when they are actually the same. But marriage and homosexual union have little in common. Marriage is the bedrock of society in a way that homosexual union can never be. Family - a mother and father creating and raising children - is the basis for the human species. Anything else, isn't.

Re:sounds reasonable.. (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454534)

Oh please. As if gay couples can't adopt and raise children.

Re:sounds reasonable.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454608)

So can single people. Gimme tax breaks, please.

Re:sounds reasonable.. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454802)

In the state where the prezident's brother is governor, they can't. [aclufl.org] (Until those damn activist judges knock this down as unconstitutional. Those damn activist judges, always upholding their "Constitution", like it makes them better than everybody else).

Re:sounds reasonable.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454649)

So infertile couples and old folks shouldn't be allowed to marry, eh?

Tired old argument. No one CARES what you PERSONALLY think about "foundation of society", because it isn't YOUR rights being abridged. Bigot.

Re:sounds reasonable.. (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454773)

But marriage and homosexual union have little in common. Marriage is the bedrock of society in a way that homosexual union can never be. Family - a mother and father creating and raising children - is the basis for the human species. Anything else, isn't.

That view might have been somewhat accurate in the fourteenth century, but in case you haven't noticed, things have changed a lot. Men and women get married for all kinds of reasons besides kids. Companionship, love, sex, money, legal benefits, because they had too much to drink in Vegas, whatever. If a man and a woman can get married for these reasons, why can't a homosexual couple?

Re:sounds reasonable.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454779)

There's an old socialist saying about freedom and privilege, along the lines of if everybody doesn't have it, it's not freedom--it's privilege.

Despite its socialist origins, I agree. What Microsoft has done is say that it will encourage US citizens to have privileges that others in the world don't.

Ballmer doesn't actually have to watch as gay people are killed, tied to posts and pistol-whipped to death, or raped by their own friends and parents. Maybe that's how he can call discrimination against gays a cultural issue.

News flash. Murder, torture and rape aren't cultural--they're barbarism anywhere they happen. Failing to fight for the rights those who aren't considered worthy of the legal protections of society isn't cultural relativism--it's indifference to human suffering. Is lack of equal legal protection the same as murder? No, but one logically follows from the other--as any elderly Black person from the South can tell you. To think we can exempt gays from some of the legal protections the rest of us enjoy and that we will all end up peacefully and equally coexisting has been proven wrong historically with every other minority group in the same situation.

So the upshot is that their position is still "neutral" as far as most of the planet is concerned. They don't give a shit about human rights if it interferes with their bottom line.

Microsoft PR Algorithm (5, Funny)

forsythe450 (571527) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454391)

if (num_windows_users(gay_activists) > num_windows_users(christian_right)) {

retract_statement = true;

}

Re:Microsoft PR Algorithm (2, Funny)

Imposter_of_myself (636697) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454668)

Ummm, I might go with:

while (time_for_action != closed) {

stated_position = against;

}

stated_position = for;


If you can add this into your algorithm, I think it would be complete :-)

Re:Microsoft PR Algorithm (1)

UnixRawks (705739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454753)

You need to replace num with total_money for your algorithm to properly execute.

Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454795)

Visual Studio throws up a divide by zero error compiling the above algorithm...

Hidden glass ceiling for minorities at Microsoft (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454398)

The hidden glass ceiling at Microsoft is within Windows division. Though women and other minorities fare well in overall number and occupy leadership roles in other Microsoft groups, Windows Division seems to have a horrendous track record of hiring, retaining, and promoting minorities into senior positions (level 65 and above).

For a group of 14,000 people that has been around for decades and generates so much income, you'd think that they would have more than 25-30 women in senior leadership roles within the Windows group...

Re:Hidden glass ceiling for minorities at Microsof (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454674)

level 65

WTF? If their management is 64 levels deep, then Longhorn's release schedule makes much more sense. What are they trying to attain? The Org Chart of Yendor?

What They Need To Do (1)

ArchAngel21x (678202) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454402)

They need to concentrate on legislation that affects them. Going on these feel good campaigns will only get them into trouble, and as far as social issues, will only anger a bunch of people no matter what stance they take.

Re:What They Need To Do (2, Insightful)

Saige (53303) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454569)

It's not just a "feel good campaign". It does affect the company - MS has lost employees over this, and had possible employees turn down offers and even change their minds on previously accepted offers. And that doesn't even take into account business lost because of the decision.

Attracting and retaining talent is very important - which is one of the reasons for the pro-diversity attitide inside the company. They've realized that supporting things inside isn't enough when people also have to live in areas where they may not find the same attitude toward diversity. No matter how accepting MS may be of gay employees, if that employee can't find housing because of being discriminated against, they're not going to work at MS. This helps support that goal.

Corporations and public policy (2, Insightful)

subl33t (739983) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454403)

"He also says that he doesn't think Microsoft should be involved in most public policy issues"

Microsoft (or any other corporation) shouldn't be involved in ANY public policy issues, that's what elected representatives are for.

Re:Corporations and public policy (1)

glenrm (640773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454717)

In principal the above comment is accurate and should be modded up.

Companies shouldn't make political statements (1)

Johan Veenstra (61679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454406)

wtf, can anybody explain. Is this considered 'normal' in the US?

Re:Companies shouldn't make political statements (2, Insightful)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454715)

It's not usually the policy of a company, but now they've gone and gotten involved, so it's too late, they can't withdraw support without looking like they support the other side, because people are dumb as rocks.

-Jesse

Re:Companies shouldn't make political statements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454716)

Simply put, this demonstrates abuse of power by companies.

Once companies are treated as living entities and can influence such things, its a bad sign.

Homos of the world unite! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454411)

Oh, wait, AIDS united you already. Didn't it?

OK everyone, let's all protest and boycott Microsoft for supporting homos! It's against God and nature and even evolution! Homos are against all that is good and now, so is Microsoft.

Re:Homos of the world unite! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454498)


No, let's protest against the real source of all that is wrong and evil in this world... Slashdot Anonymous Cowards!!!

Oh...wait...

He's right (0, Redundant)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454414)

The only "public policy" Microsoft is involved in is exploits or malware for their OS occasionally bringing public agencies to their knees.

Re:He's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454564)

The only "public policy" Microsoft is involved in is exploits or malware for their OS occasionally bringing public agencies to their knees.

And Microsoft should't be concerned with bringing homosexual men to their knees...

Day Late/Dollar Short: Pandering (4, Insightful)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454425)

The State's legislative session is over for the year. Now that it no longer makes a difference, Microsoft switches back the high road as a P.R. move. Terrific. And all the press will praise Microsoft for their generosity, and the sheeple will love them again.

Blah.

Comes with the territory (3, Insightful)

SuperBigGulp (177180) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454448)

He also says that he doesn't think Microsoft should be involved in most public policy issues.

Sorry Steve, but social responsibility is part of running a business. This is especially true for monopolies. Also interesting that they are willing to stake out the moral ground when it comes to intellectual property and freedom to innovate, but lack courage/conviction when it comes to other issues.

Damn Winders (0)

KingBahamut (615285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454454)

thunk it was a-gonna be the fine man's OS, an' not th' Fag Operatin' system, dawgone it. Them Fags dont need an OS of their own, as enny fool kin plainly see......Dawgone Fags need t'go an' haf their own place an stay away fum us straight fine christian types.....

Re:Damn Winders (1)

arf_arf_arf (543083) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454660)

And here my buddy's been tellin' me all this time that the fags all use macs.

Darn Bigots (1)

theGreater (596196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454739)

And how is your comment any different than me making an offensive joke about the homosexual lifestyle using stereotypes such as a lisp or a limp wrist? This is exactly the kind of thing that Microsoft says they're NOT going to tolerate.

-theGreater.

"In countries with different value systems" (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454470)

So, if you have a country where "the different value system" endorses stuff like cutting off a girl's clitoris and sewing her vagina shut to ensure her virginity at marriage, Microsoft won't have a problem with that, because, well, it's a "different value system" and Microsoft doesn't want to get involved, and it might cost them some money.

China has a "different value system" that endorses the use of slave labor and politcal gulags. For that matter, Buchenwald was the result of a "different value system". Where does it end?

I think they picked the worst of two possible choices -- endorsing a squishy moral relativism in the name of cultural diversity that only serves to justify barbaric behavior, and it's all been done in the name of profits.

Maybe Bill should have stayed at Harvard and gotten a little better education.

Re:"In countries with different value systems" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454741)

Hmmm, America has a "value system" of keeping people poor so they make better cannon fodder when the time comes to get more resources for the ruling class. America also has a "value system" of a "culture of life", but any mention of BREASTS, PENISES OR VAGINAS sends them into conniptions. Where does it end?

Now they officially suck (4, Insightful)

Little Pink Bunny (881651) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454482)

It was good when they originally supported the legislation. Although I disliked it for various reasons, I congratulated them for taking a seemingly well defended stance on a human interest issue.

It was also OK when they changed their minds. Reassessing your position and deciding that a given battle isn't your place is commendable, and I could appreciate that.

Now, though, they just plain suck. "Really, folks, even though it's too late to get this one bill passed, we'll sure lobby for the next one that comes along! Unless we don't! But never mind that; for now we can say that you have our full support without facing any of the consequences of doing so!"

What a horridly cynical, insulting position to take. Were I gay, I think I'd be far more furious at this latest flip-flop than at their earlier decision not to support it. At worst, that move just looked cowardly. This one appears flat-out manipulative.

Re:Now they officially suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454703)

... I think I'd be far more furious at this latest flip-flop than at their earlier decision not to support it. At worst, that move just looked cowardly. This one appears flat-out manipulative.

John Kerry anyone?

Different value systems (5, Insightful)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454496)

[Ballmer] adds that they'll be supporting it in the US only as they don't want to involve the company in debates in countries with different cultures and value systems.

What about countries whose culture and value systems don't give any consideration to "intellectual" "property"? Will MS refrain from involvement in that debate too?

Slashdot does not reverse stand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454526)

...on same-story dupe policy.

Shouldn't this be a double negative? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454540)

Should the article be entitled:

Microsoft is reverseing the reversal of their pro-gay rights policy.

it's true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454562)

m$ = teh ghey.

not that there's anything wrong with that.

No wonder (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454576)

Offtopic but

I am wondering who typed this up, I mean how many words can you type together without noticing any typos?

remember: Bill Gates IS the Big Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454585)

remember: Bill Gates was and IS the Big Brother. Microsoft is a monopoly virus. Who is really B.G.? This photo [altervista.org] will explain all....

Reverse? Or corrected? (1)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454595)

They supported it.

Then we got an article about how they reversed their stand and were ... they weren't OPPOSING it, but they were no longer supporting it.

Now they've reversed again.

Who cares? I thought the goal was to divorce corporate sponsorship from legislation? Or do we only want that when we find the legislation in question to be deplorable.

eh (1)

racerxroot (786164) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454625)

I like to give microsoft as much crap as the next guy, but I can't help but stand up for them on this. Make all the jokes you want -- but they're taking a stance on an issue they believe in, and for once it appears to be something that doesn't have many financial benefits to them (? does it?). *applause* for MS... even as much as I don't like them, I know that normally they're not doing anything that any other skilled capitalist wouldn't do (which is why I'm not a much of a capitalist... but that's another issue entirely). Anyway -- although its a little too late for them to support it now, I still have this much more respect for them now.

Could someone please explain? (4, Interesting)

DavyByrne (30170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454629)

One point really stood out in all the e-mails you sent me. Regardless of where people came down on the issues, everyone expressed strong support for the company's commitment to diversity. To me, that's so critical. Our success depends on having a workforce that is as diverse as our customers - and on working together in a way that taps all of that diversity.

How does sexual-orientational diversity help a software company to produce better software? How exactly does Microsoft's success depend on such diversity? If any sort of diversity is relevant, wouldn't it be techincal diversity, or diversity of technical experience among its developers?

I mean this as a serious inquiry. For many years people have fought long and hard to show that someone should not be discriminated against because of his sexual orientation (or race, or other criteria irrelevant to a particular job). The country has made great strides against such discrimination. It seems that many of the same people who fought against discrimination are now saying that such criteria are not only relevant but are actually important to a company's success.

I don't get it. Someone please explain.

Re:Could someone please explain? (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454783)

The short version is, if you discriminate against members of group X, you cut yourself off from the contributions which potentially valuable members of group X can make. It doesn't matter, particularly, what group X is -- if you discriminate against blacks, or Jews, or homosexuals, or any other large identifiable group of people, you can be damn sure that there are at least some people in that group who would otherwise be happy to work for you and would do a very, very good job. You're limiting the talent pool.

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, I invite you to consider how differently WW2 might have turned out if Germany hadn't forced all of its Jewish scientists into exile (those who were perceptive enough to see which way the wind was blowing and get out while they still could, I mean.) An awful lot of them ended up working for the US government on a little project in New Mexico.

Wait, is this still Bush's America? (4, Funny)

ianscot (591483) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454656)

He also says that he doesn't think Microsoft should be involved in most public policy issues.

When did our enormous corporations decide they shouldn't be the only voice at the table in our government? I must've missed the memo. (Maybe that one got sent during the formulation of our energy policy, so Cheney thought it was a protected secret of the Executive Branch? Oops, that memo can't have come from those meetings...)

Alice in Wonderland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454664)

Slashdotters embrace Microsoft proving once and forall that the board is more about Liberalism than Geekism!

The term "micro soft"... (3, Funny)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454671)

...should turn off any gay man (or straight woman for that matter).

Bad move (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454710)

Stupid, they may loss costomers that know homosexuality is a sin.

Fag Power! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12454747)

You go girlfriends!

Not involved, you say? (3, Informative)

fsck! (98098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12454781)

Take a look at their political donatations:

http://buyblue.org/detail.php?corpId=143 [buyblue.org]

They give a lot, to both parties, but mostly to the Republicans.

And anyway, aren't the bigots exactly the people you WANT to discriminate against? From what I've heard, it's a hell of a lot easier to stop being an asshole than to stop being gay.

On the other hand, I'm not gay but I am an asshole. Haven't been able to stop yet.
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