Microsoft employees call on the company to cancel $480 million contract for...

Microsoft employees call on the company to cancel $480 million contract for supply of AR headsets to U.S. Army


Microsoft Corp unveiled its updated HoloLens 2 headset, focusing businesses and governments but also available to individuals, during an event at the Mobile World Congress industry conference in Barcelona on Sunday.

But in last week, Microsoft faced a demand from some of its employees to terminate a $480 million contract to provide hardware to the U.S. Army.

Employees requested the Microsoft to stop the development of any or all weapon technologies through a petition signed by 94 of the company’s employees.

The organized effort is a latest addition to last year protest by tech employees against the tech companies’ cooperation with governments on emerging technologies to be used in military weapons.

Last year in November, Microsoft succeeded to get a contract to supply at least 2,500 prototypes of augmented reality headsets to the Army as these AR headsets provide the digital display of relative information to the user in front of his or her eye on the screen of headset.

Government’s intention for the headset was to use it practically in battlefield as well as in trainings to improve the mobility, lethality and to make the soldiers more aware of the situations around them.

In their appeal, posted on Twitter, to the executives of Microsoft, workers mentioned that they did not joined the company to make weapons and demanded to have been informed about the usage of the products they made. They requested to device a publicly acceptable usage policy for their products and technology and formation of an external review board to enforce that policy publicly.

In its statement, Microsoft said that it always welcome the feedback from employees but also quoted to an October blog post by its president, Brad Smith, in which he expressed to be continuing the company’s commitment to help the military and emphasized about the necessary legislation to ensure the new technologies are being used with responsibility.

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I cover technology, utilities and biotechnology for Markets Morning, and I help out occasionally with other industry sectors. I've written about investment and personal finance topics for more than 20 years from a lowly copywriter to editor-in-chief, so I've done a little bit of everything. For what it's worth, I have a BA from Duke University and an MBA from Rollins College. I'm married with one daughter, and that's worth more than everything else put together.