Ethical, Social and Environmental Standards and Practices of Microsoft

Essay 2015 17 Pages



Table of Contents


Microsoft’s Values and Standards of Business Conduct

Microsoft’s Recent Philosophy

Microsoft’s Stakeholders

Impact of CSR for Microsoft

Considerations of CSR in Microsoft’s Future




Corporate Social Responsibility and its monitoring by governments, activists and the media have incorporated CSR into the daily activity of companies which desire to remain competitive in today’s market.

“Microsoft Wins 'Most Ethical' Award--Google, Facebook, Apple Don't Make The List”[1] was the headline of Huffington Post and according to Ethisphere Institute, the award is presented to those companies who lead their industry in the ethics and compliance programs. The companies evaluated span several industries, from food to banking industries. A few examples of other companies that made the 110 most ethical list are Adobe, Cisco, eBay and Symantec. Companies are analyzed based on corporate social responsibility, citizenship, governance, innovation, social contribution and many others factors.

Ethisphere is an institution that entitles itself as the following:

“The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. We have a deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere believes integrity and transparency impact the public trust and the bottom line of any organization.”[2]

Microsoft started to make a big "corporate citizenship" push in the early 2000s following the negative fallout from its antitrust trials, and has since donated millions to non-profits, invested in programs for economic development, and tightened up its internal reporting processes. All of this was apparently enough to get the company on the list this year[3]. Yet, that has not always been the case.

Let’s delve into Microsoft’s earlier years and accompany its rise to an ethical shining star. As early as the 80’s an account from Jonathan Wallace, an upstart lawyer representing a developer in licensing his work to Microsoft stated that “we were aware that the company had a reputation for terminating licenses ruthlessly once it figured out how to clone the technology, legally or not. Stacker's successful lawsuit against Microsoft for patent infringement of its compression technology, and the pending Apple lawsuit for the copyright infringement of Quicktime, are both examples of cases in which Microsoft allegedly licensed something, then kept it.”[4] Contentious practices continued to plague Microsoft in a myriad of scandals and lawsuits.

To cite only a few examples, the “Holy war against JAVA”[5] in 1998 left the browser market shaken by Microsoft’s monopoly game, antitrust violations such as the Bristol Technologies lawsuit[5] and lobbying scandals[7] up to 2002.

Controversially, when studying 20th century Microsoft is arguably the most important company of the century. So what changed to make Microsoft be in Ethisphere’s list two years in a row?

Bill Gates did. In 2002, after the Bristol Technologies lawsuit and judge Sporkin evaluated Microsoft’s conduct he said: “Microsoft, a rather new corporation, may not have matured to the position where it understands how it should act with respect to the public interest and the ethics of the marketplace.” Bill Gates responded by announcing Microsoft’s commitment to change its business practices when he testified in court in 2002.

After that Microsoft seriously changed to the company it is today, admittedly not overnight but through a slow process which integrated an ethical commitment throughout the company.

Microsoft’s Values and Standards of Business Conduct

The values presented by Microsoft are:

- Integrity & Honesty
- Open & Respectful
- Passion
- Accountable
- Big Challenges
- Self-Critical

They are available for the public and contain a detailed explanation of each value. It is clear, concise and easily understandable.

The Standards of Business Conduct opens with a letter from the current CEO Satya Nadella followed by:

- Overview
- Complying with Laws, Regulations & Microsoft Policies
- Managing & Protecting Information
- Working Responsibly & Serving Communities Around the World
- Providing a Dynamic & Diverse Work Environment
- Managing Our Assets Responsibly
- Our Business Conduct & Compliance Program

The objective, as pointed out in the Overview, is to point out that the values presented and continuous practice of the Business Conduct are a requirement for continued employment at Microsoft and as such ingraining those values to the entire company as they apply to “all employees, directors, and executive officers of Microsoft and its subsidiaries and Controlled Affiliates.”[8]



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
398 KB
Catalog Number
Institution / College
The Pennsylvania State University - Worthington Scranton
3.87 (A-)
ethical social environmental standards practices microsoft



Title: Ethical, Social and Environmental Standards and Practices of Microsoft