Be what's next

Sunday 5 June 2011, by Andrea Perez-mas, Henrik Nyberg, Kristoffer Klakegg, Ralph Atiya

3 inspired

a) Main facts about the company:

Microsoft is an American public multinational corporation that is working with computer software and similar technology. The company is already more than 35 years old, even though the industry seems relative young. That is because the development of the industry has grown a lot with a lot of companies and competitors.
Microsoft dominated the home computer operating system market and the office suite market with MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. The company has also spread their wings into different markets, for example video game industry with the Xbox, to compete with Sony and their product Sony Playstation, as well as into the consumer electronics and digital services market with MSN and the Windows Phone OS.
The ensuing rise of stock in the company’s 1986 initial public offering (IPO) made an estimated four billionaires and 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees. In May 2011, Microsoft Corporation acquired Skype Communications for $8.5 billion dollars.

b) Ethical issues of the company:

In the beginning of the growing computer industry in the early 1990s, a lot of critics said and try to convince the people that Microsoft was unethical through trying to be a monopoly in the industry. And also through put unreasonable restrictions to their software and bad marketing tactics.
When hiring, Microsoft is also known as being very harsh against the worker, because they have been known as using very deep interviewing process, and therefore the workers can be ?self-elected? for the vacancy, because some of them cannot stand this process.
Microsoft are acting in, what we think is, an ethical way, because even though they are the leader in the industry and also try to decrease their environmental emission and try to act in a way that is good for the society and the workers. For example, seven years, Microsoft started a corporate social responsibility program called Corporate Citizenship which is a set of corporate activities that add business value and address a range of social issues,which issues?
Microsoft is facing a challenge to maintain its leader position, providing a good service for their consumers, helping society with its new technology, its employees, and the environment. Therefore, their mission is to be innovative, helping people and business throughout the world realize its full potential, while being socially friendly with environment and taking all their stakeholders into account.
Microsoft realized that one of their main challenges is to creating more transparency in their supply chain. In the beginning of 2011, the CEO met with numerous investors and investment firms in Europe, whose combined stockholdings were in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The stockholders of Microsoft were deeply concerned about how the company was addressing issues of human rights and carbon emissions.
Microsoft is ranked on the 17th place in the Guide to Greener Electronics from Greenpeace, which ranks 18 electronics manufacturers according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.

c) What makes us believe in the company:

Every commercial company has to make a choice in the amount of money they spend on social responsibility. The bigger the company is the more responsibility or harm they can take/make. Microsoft is a profit seeking company who has made mistakes in the past. They have been suit for monopolistic behavior, which excluded new business to enter the industry. This is seen as unethical because they can keep their price high and leave no choice of the customers in their consuming behavior. After these acquisitions Microsoft landed in a deprecian in which they lost all credibility from their customers. They were on rock bode. So now they have to prove the people that they are a trustworthy company. With all the eyes of the society pointing at them they have no room for mistakes and manipulation. Being in this position gives them no choice but being ethical from now on. They realized these themselves and started a project called corporate citizenship. Because Microsoft is not a company who can produce a lot of harm to the environment or serious harm to people we don?t have to investigate those dimensions. Their only real power was being a monopoly and this power has been taken away from them. Being an ethical company is not always the reason why they are but more what they do. We think the reason Microsoft made some drastic changes in the social responsibility is to clear their name and to get the trust of their customers back. This reason may not seem an ethical reason nonetheless it has good influences on society.
What did Microsoft changed in their social responsibility contribution?
First they started programs that helped parents to protect their children from predators on the internet. In Japan they helped the older generation to learn their software so that they can use it properly. Microsoft is a company who changed the world as it was. By introducing their product the world became a smaller place, which had enormous effects on our day to day life, good and bad. This shows that they try to diminish the bad effects of their product and try to explain their product to the people who are incapable of doing those themselves. They partnered with governments to help the unemployed and veterans to acquire more skills so they have bigger chance to find jobs, and all this contributes to the entire economy. As a huge company who is generating work and money for the economy, while helping the needy is a very ethical thing to do. Of course these choices have helped them to get new customers but that is ethical when you look at it from the corporate point of view. Microsoft has over 600,000 business partners globally; this means that their company is not the only one gaining from good business. Every dollar that Microsoft makes, will on average contribute to $8.70 profit for their partners. So they are responsible for an enormous amount of work and profit all around the world. This profits, represents job, income and food especially in the development countries.
From an environmental point of view they invested in energy reducing new products. Their new Windows 7 Operating system is build to use less energy. Also their cafeterias are built to sustain the environment. Their business changes improved innovation and job-creation that is environmentally sustainable.
Microsoft?s technology innovations, its partnerships and its day-to-day business make a meaningful contribution to the prosperity of communities and the sustainability of the planet.
So we trust Microsoft because we believe in its positive impact in society thanks to its discoverments, which have help to develop our world today. All of us use internet, computers and software and were this service does not reach Microsoft works with NGO?s and other foundations to supply it, for example, Microsoft has partners as the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, to supply and sustain free public access to computers and the Internet, for example in Botswana they have invested 1 million dollar of software and 72 libraries. Also since 2005, Microsoft has donated more than 44 million dollars in cash and software to NetHope and its member agencies to support nonprofit technological innovation and programs.
UNHCR and Microsoft aim to support ICT education and learning in challenging environments. Microsoft is also committed to reduce the impact computer use have on the environment through power management and energy efficiency. In 2007 Microsoft collaborated with several organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to launch the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI). Through CSCI, technology companies can offer a unified voice on the importance of sustainable computer use. In addition, CSCI offers clear guidance to individuals and businesses on how to take advantage of industry innovations and practices that improve energy efficiency and power management.
To also try to proof that Microsoft is being ethic, this year Microsoft got feedback on their work when they made it to the Ethisphere Institute list of the 110 most ethical companies in the world. When for example other big companies in the same industry like Apple and Google didn?t make it to this list, so this is what we think is a good receipt of the effort that Microsoft is putting in being known as ethical.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Microsoft are partnering to use information and communications technology (ICT) to improve UNHCR operations and develop programs to help refugees rebuild their lives, store their data, and access new opportunities through education and connectivity. Together, UNHCR and Microsoft aim to embrace refugees as part of the worldwide community?s technology movement and support ICT education and learning in challenging environments in the world.
As we said sometimes the reason for being social responsible is not the criteria of being ethical. Some of their changes contributed to higher profits and some did not. They have communicated to their shareholders that from now on making profit is not their only concern.

d) Possible challenges for the company and how we think they can improve:

Microsoft is a huge company that own 96,97 % of the OS market, so their main challenge is to maintain that market share. They are the leaders of this industry, but now their monopolistic power has come to an end. They only way to maintain the market leader is to be more efficient, more innovative and more trustworthy than their competitors. We think they have interpreted their social responsibility in the right way.
Microsoft also has the power, as a big company, to stimulate the economy and to help the people who don?t have access to the same software as in the western countries. They should keep investing and teaching in the development countries because they are the future generation who will use computers. Microsoft need to see their product as food, it is becoming something we can?t live without anymore. If they can do the same in the development countries the will broaden their market and with that their profits.


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1 Discussion / 1 Message

  • Microsoft entirely inspired the author but partly inspired me. 5 October 2012 at 10:56 , by Nawat Laokiatkul

    Microsoft is inspiring the authors in many ways. For the first reason, Microsoft faced with a lot of ethical issues such as employee issue and monopoly issue, but why they still have good reputation. I think this is first reason why it is inspiring the author. They provided the corporate citizenship and make the people believe that technology and innovation are important to your life. Also, Microsoft has a good strategy to gain a lot of partner to support their business.
    The second reasons why the author is inspired by Microsoft are the fact that Microsoft could sustain their business; maintain that market share, providing a good service for their consumers, helping society with its new technology, its employees, and the environment. How can Microsoft do that ways? I believe that “the bigger they are the harder they fall” is not real for Microsoft and author also believe that. Microsoft could do the business well and gain their profit by suitable mechanism that customer and society didn’t feel resisted with the company.
    I think that Microsoft definitely inspired the author but they partly inspired me, I still have some controversial that Microsoft will gain more than they lost and they spend enough for the society. Their market share is 97 percent of all and Microsoft has the most profit in the world. Since I think that there are some point that author didn’t mention which is the pollution problems and waste management. That might impact the overall of the world such as green house effect. I’m confidence that this is one of the Microsoft problems since they have many plants in many countries, but I’m not sure that they are responsible for these problems.

Location: Barcelona (Spain)

Sector: computer technology

Official website:

Key figures:

Area served: Worldwide
Key people: Steve Ballmer (CEO) & Bill Gates (Chairman)
Revenue: $62.484 billion (2010)
Operating income: $24.098 billion (2010)
Profit: $18.760 billion (2010)
Total assets: $86.113 billion (2010)
Total equity: $46.175 billion (2010)
Employees: 89 000 (2010)

Nbr. visits: 807

Nbr. inspires: 3