Monday, April 25, 2005

[geek][politics] Microsoft - the story has legs

The fallout from Microsoft's cowardly (cravenly?) actions vis a vis HB 1515 keeps on coming. (Again, my own editorial remarks are in brackets and are tagged with a "ps:"). In the order that I found 'em, we have: 1. From MSNBC (I love the irony inherent in typing that):
...Friday, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, which presented Microsoft with its Corporate Vision Award four years ago, asked the company to return the award. "Because of Microsoft’s apparent capitulation to the demands of anti-gay extremists and withdrawal of support for a bill that would do nothing more than protect gay and lesbian people from discrimination, we believe it’s no longer worthy of our highest corporate honor," Darrell Cummings, the center’s chief of staff, said in a statement. The Human Rights Campaign said in a letter to Microsoft that "the strong stance of Microsoft on behalf of the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered] community and our partnership with the organization in the past makes this feel like even more of a betrayal."
(You listening, GLAAD? Or does the money from Microsoft matter even more than their actions?) 2. John @ AMERICABlog is promising good things (we're hoping for documents, personally) in a footnote to a piece on the FOIA documents about the fake White House reporter, Gannon/Guckert/Bulldog the Wonder Escort. 3. John also pointed me to the Scobelizer! Scoble! You rock, man! I don't read your site nearly often enough, but you've just been added to my aggregator! One of Microsoft's best-known bloggers writes this:
I got permission from PR to post Steve's email. [ps: Steve Ballmer] Steve, I personally am not happy with what it appears went down in this case -- even the APPEARANCE that a church is pushing around Microsoft is just wrong in my view (and, when the pastor makes claims that we buckled because of his pressure then I'm left trying to figure out who to believe: a CEO of a company, or a religious guy. Most people I know will pick the religious guy, sorry). One of the reasons I came to Microsoft is because of its very strong stance on human rights. The fact that Microsoft is even in this position makes me want to leave and join a different company that won't be pushed around by religious folks. Is that the message you want to send?
4. Gary Cornell, publisher of APress (good technical books) has a slightly different take here:
...here's what bothers me. He [ps:Steve Ballmer] also says:
"On this particular matter, both Bill [ps:Gates] and I actually both personally support this legislation that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But that is my personal view, and I also know that many employees and shareholders would not agree with me.[ps:"]
So, Steve why didn't you and Bill hightail it over to Olympia and testify as follows to the legislature: "While Microsoft can and will have no positions on this issue I want you know that Bill Gates and I feel very strongly that this bill is a good bill, a necessary bill. And since we personally both want it to pass, we have decided to put the necessary money where out mouths are. Ergo, he and I have set up a PAC with (feel free to put some significant amount of money here--whatever is needed I am sure isn't even a days interest on their combined wealth*) at its disposal to help pass this truly excellent and necessary bill." In other words Steve if you are going to say you personally talk the talk, how 'bout personally walking the walk? *Using a reasonable level for the possible interest rate they could obtain nowadays, one days interest on their combined wealth is 3 million dollars or so.
The hits keep on comin'... Microsoft, you listening? How about you, Waggner Edstrom? Figured out how you're going to spin this yet? What message do you guys want to send, anyway?

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