After Microsoft got a new $22 billion contract for AR headsets, the company went on to defend its partnership with the US Army. However, a group of employees is opposed to the military deal.
Microsoft’s contract for delivery of 120,000 AR headsets to the US Army caused debate online. On March 31, the company’s president Bad Smith commented on the deal, writing about the long-lasting partnership with the military.
“We are longtime supporters of the Department of Defense and US Army’s effort to modernize the U.S. Military through advanced technology,” he wrote on Twitter.
A group of anonymous employees called Microsoft Workers 4 Good reacted to Smith’s message on April 1. “We would much rather Microsoft used today to stand up for Transgender people everywhere on Transgender Day of Visibility, instead of building weapons of war,” the group wrote on Twitter.
It’s now the first time Microsoft Workers 4 Good has protested the company’s military contracts. In 2019, they wrote an open letter, demanding Microsoft to cancel the IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) deal worth around $480 million.
On behalf of workers at Microsoft, we’re releasing an open letter to Brad Smith and Satya Nadella, demanding for the cancelation of the IVAS contract with a call for stricter ethical guidelines.
If you’re a Microsoft employee you can sign at: https://t.co/958AhvIHO5 pic.twitter.com/uUZ5P4FJ7X
— Microsoft Workers 4 Good (@MsWorkers4) February 22, 2019
This time, however, Microsoft got a contract worth 45 times more. It’s unclear if the displeasure of some employees would influence the company’s policy at all. Microsoft has been working with the military for years, as it also won a $10 billion contract with the Pentagon in 2019.
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