Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft On List of Most Ethical Companies

Comments Filter:
  • by Eric S. Smith (162) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:50PM (#35511308) Homepage
    The bar, after all, is so low.
    • by KiloByte (825081) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:55PM (#35511386)

      Holy shit... Accenture, eBay, NYSE, Symantec...

      Even among large companies, you can find much, much better ones.

      The list lacks Google too -- they have evil sides too, but they are at least trying, unlike most.

      • by Billlagr (931034)
        I was just wondering about that too, if Google wasn't nominated, or just didn't make the cut
        • by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:29PM (#35511720)

          I was just wondering about that too, if Google wasn't nominated, or just didn't make the cut

          Google had "significant" legal action against them in the past 5 years. They nixed their chances by accidentally capturing WiFi data while riding around in their privacy-violating google vans.

          And they probably didn't donate enough to *cough* sufficiently worthy causes (such as the organization making the list)

          • by syockit (1480393)
            So what is the criteria for being 'ethical'? Is it following proper business practices, not breaking laws, not getting on people's nerves, or is it being philantropic?
            • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:55PM (#35512392)

              So what is the criteria for being 'ethical'?

              Not getting caught.

              • No, they got caught. Repeatedly. For example, on the browser issue. They've been in court in a massive antitrust case that in a just world would have resulted in them being broken up. One can go down a list of their major, massive, ethical violations and questionable business practices (all of which have been massively successful in killing off its competition). Take Borland, for example -- the actual inventor of the IDE (good old Turbo Pascal, $45, on the IBM PC). Take Lotus. Take Wordstar and Word
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by OttoErotic (934909)
        Not surprisingly there are a lot of negative comments here, but to play devil's advocate: what practices of Microsoft's are really unethical? I mean that as an honest question. Maybe there's a huge list that I'm forgetting but I can't think of a lot offhand that really make me think of them as really evil. I don't always like their approach, but most of the time it seems like legitimate competitive behavior. When I think 'unethical', I think bribery, hidden agendas, employee abuse, poor environmental pr
        • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:16PM (#35511592)

          I think the whole OOXML thing was unethical. Buying off members of a standards body.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Locutus (9039)
          paying contracted partners to join an industry standards organization committees around the world, give them instructions on their talking points so they vote in a Microsoft document as a standard. Oh and these Microsoft partners overwhelm the committees such that after the MS project vote they didn't continue their duties on the committees and progress all but stopped in the standards org.

          Then there's the bit about assigning no less than 12 Microsoft employees in a controlled effort to direct the product a
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mysidia (191772)

          Maybe there's a huge list that I'm forgetting but I can't think of a lot offhand that really make me think of them as really evil. I don't always like their approach, but most of the time it seems like legitimate competitive behavior. When I think 'unethical', I think bribery, hidden agendas,

          Unethical != Evil

          So called "legitimate" competitive behavior might sometimes be unethical. For example, lying, renigging on agreements, deception, are some unethical actions; misperceptions. Many marketing activi

        • by dch24 (904899) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:42PM (#35511840) Journal

          bribery, hidden agendas, employee abuse, poor environmental practices

          Did you even try googling any of those? Perhaps you've been so poorly bribed that, abused by Microsoft though you may be, your hidden agenda is to astroturf on tech news sites, polluting them?

          Bribery:

          Hidden Agendas

          Employee Abuse

          Poor Environmental Practices
          Did you mean to suggest Microsoft is a hardware company?

          Or can we count all the useless trash they have pushed out the door, forcing users to reformat their machines as soon as they buy them so they can downgrade to a decent OS [crn.com], Vista ending up straight in the landfill?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Bribery:

            • 2005-2010 Bing "Loyalty Rewards" program - widely derided as an attempt to grab customers with bribes. If Bing is as good as they want it to be, why do they need to offer cash?

            Methinks you shouldn't start with one that is hardly criminal bribery. Otherwise my bank bribed me with a toaster. Or Target bribed me with Soda.

            This is why it's hard to believe folks like you, you claim everything, to the point where you end up castigating them at a rate that turns people off, instead of convinces them.

            Stick to real offenses, not trumped up ones.

            • by Locke2005 (849178)
              Illegal and unethical are too different things. I believe Microsoft paying people to use their search engine was unethical competition, but then I think the rewards miles given out by airlines are unethical kickbacks as well (they know full well the majority of miles flown are paid for by companies for their employees, so the company pays for the miles but the employee benefits from them. Effectively they are bribing employees to not choose the cheapest carrier.)
          • Did you mean to suggest Microsoft is a hardware company?

            Regardless of the rest of your post, you should know that Microsoft does have a hardware division. [microsoft.com] There's also the Zune of course. Software is the biggest part of their business, but if you got rid of it, there would still be a fairly sizeable hardware company left over.

          • by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:24AM (#35513382)

            This is quite a pathetic list. Cashback programs are bribery? Better not tell the DoJ, or every credit card company on Earth is going to be in deep shit.

            "Microsoft buys patents". Seriously. Buying things is now unethical is the fevered minds of the MS-haters.

            MS adds support for PDF. This is bad because it helps MS Office compete against Open Office. And God knows, trying to compete against FOSS isn't just unethical, it's a crime against humanity!

            The CEO gets angry and throws a chair. Ergo, MS routinely abuses their employees. This is logical your mind? I doubt even you believe this one.

            Christ man, the ONLY thing on that list that's really unethical is their corruption of the OOXML standards process. Next time, just leave it at that. Posting all that other stuff just makes you look like you're grasping at straws.

        • by slashqwerty (1099091) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:53PM (#35511944)

          Not surprisingly there are a lot of negative comments here, but to play devil's advocate: what practices of Microsoft's are really unethical?

          1. Lying to IBM about having an OS ready. Bill Gates later bragged about this in his 1995 book.
          2. Setting up contracts with vendors that required them to buy Windows licenses for every machine they sell even if the machine did not come with Windows.

            Making their apps use hidden APIs that worked while leaving competing products to use published APIs that were buggy.
          3. Using a fabricated video during the anti-trust trial to make it look like IE could not be removed from the OS.
          4. Bribing other companies to join a standards body and push their complex, unvetted standard through.
          5. 'Donating' to a bunch of Attorneys General campaings which were then followed up with generous settlement offers after the states had already won their case.
          6. 'Donating' $100,000 to the George W. Bush inaugural party which was followed up with a generous settlement offer after the DOJ had already won their case.
          7. Spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) about the competition has long been a standard Microsoft business practice.
          8. Paying SCO some $50 million dollars through foreign back channels (BayStar) while SCO was spreading FUD about Linux.

          Those are just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are many, many more.

      • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:27PM (#35511694)

        Symantec? REALLY? At least microsoft actually improves their product from version to version; Symantec looks for ways to make it break worse, and then spends 80% of their budget on marketing to convince every mom and pop that they need Norton, despite the fact that it is consistently one of the WORST pieces of software to install on a computer.

        • I'll vote for that. Symantec has put out nothing but trash for well over a decade, and have turned Norton into another RCA, a legendary name relegated to selling trash.

        • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:49PM (#35511912) Journal

          More than that, having known people who have worked there, it looks to me like Symantec's modus operandi is to buy companies with successful products, lay off all the staff working on the products, force people to train their replacements at an outsourcing firm in India, and provide the absolute minimum amount of support required in order to fulfill their contractual obligations without getting sued, all while progressively breaking the product with every release through poorly tested updates.

          Ethical? Does ethical mean "will sell their customers' and employees' souls for a dollar?" If so, then they're ethical. If Symantec is one of the most ethical companies on the planet, then I'm Mother Teresa.

          And eBay? The company that took the better part of a decade of complaints before they fixed the problem of power sellers abusing the feedback system to pressure buyers to retract negative feedback? The company whose PayPal arm routinely makes decisions about who to allow to use their service based on politics or even random whims, and freezes people's accounts without warning, leaving small businesses on the hook for thousands of dollars in payments that they can no longer afford?

          If eBay is one of the most ethical companies on Earth, I'm the second coming of Jesus Christ.

          Did the people who wrote this story even do the slightest bit of research beyond reading the corporations' PR blurbs when deciding who to list? Seriously?

          • It's a form of advertising that people take seriously enough to actually discuss. Better than some ad that people gloss over without a thought.

            1. Compile a list that will make any business on that list look good. ("Ethical" is a good enough topic, as it's suitably nebulous.)
            2. Quietly enable businesses to pay to be on that list. (They don't necessarily pay in cash. Perhaps good will or free licences will do?)
            3. Ensure the list is allegedly compiled by an independent body. (The Ethisphere Institute s

      • by jsse (254124)

        The list lacks Google too -- they have evil sides too, but they are at least trying, unlike most.

        Hidden message behind Google's slogan "Don't be Evil":

        "....and don't be so good neither".

        (Seriously, American Express is ethical? Yep they subcontracted the bullying jobs to local gangs and goons so they could still remain clean. XD)

      • I'm going to go ahead and say that if you've ever had to change the name of your company because of a huge ethical scandal then you shouldn't get to be on a list of ethical companies for a little more than 10 years. I'm looking at you Accenture (aka Anderson Consulting).
    • Agree. Most corporations these days are so reprehensibly evil, it's not worth really talking about the few that haven't eaten any puppies this week.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:02PM (#35511456)

      Kinda like having a "Most Delicious Feces" competition.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by stms (1132653)
      In related news the very same list was in another list of most unethical lists.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      The bar, after all, is so low.

      Yeah, I was thinking it's a bit premature to visualize the Devil ice skating.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Yeah, I was thinking it's a bit premature to visualize the Devil ice skating.

        Obligatory link [google.com]

  • What about Apple? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I would have thought that refusing to license patents, demanding 30% of every purchase, and generally behaving in an anti-competitive fashion would have earned Apple a top spot on the list.
  • by KiloByte (825081) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:50PM (#35511322)

    Don't worry, Hitler received many similar awards too,

    • Wasn't he Time Magazine's Man of the Year [time.com] in 1938?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes but they weren't at all saying he was a good person, just that he had the greatest impact on world news that year; a perfectly valid point.

        • by unitron (5733)

          That was back when Time was much more intellectually honest about that process and standard.

          Osama bin Laden was not Man of the Year for 2001 because they didn't have the courage to go through the firestorm of having to explain every 0.00005 seconds that it's recognition of impact, for good or ill, not necessarily an honor or endorsement.

    • Henry Kissinger won the Nobel peace prize.

  • Clearly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mmmmbeer (107215) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:52PM (#35511338)

    Clearly this is a different meaning of the word "Ethical" than I'm familiar with.

  • by certsoft (442059) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:52PM (#35511346) Homepage
    Is the only one on the list that tried to screw me. After a year of them trying to get me to pay for the same airline tickets twice I finally had to get a lawyer after them.
  • by fredmosby (545378) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:53PM (#35511348)
    To me this says more about the companies that aren't on the list than it does about Microsoft,
  • "Companies" is the plural of "company." "Company's" is the possessive form.

  • After reading the actual list and seeing some of the other alleged ethical companies in there, it's really not much to be proud of.. eBay??
  • Coincidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:57PM (#35511410) Homepage Journal
    I was attributing this to Forbes malice, then i noted the message at the bottom of the slashdot page: Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity
  • Who do I have to pay off to get on that list?
  • by engineerofsorts (692517) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:59PM (#35511430)
    Must have cost a lot in bribes for M$ to get on the most-ethical list.
  • I honestly thought there was a tie with Ethisphere and Microsoft but after looking at every one of their board members and ties...

    ...they must have done a good job of hiding the connection. :)

  • Forbes has been pro-Microsoft, anti-Linux for years. Someone with some weight at Forbes has a conflict of interest I imagine.

    • by walterbyrd (182728) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:22PM (#35511654)

      To be fair, Forbes did not compile the list. I think the so-called "think tank" is more to blame.

      As I posted on the site: Ethisphere Institute is one of those so-called "think-tanks" that makes up reports to "prove" anything it's sponsors want "proven." Microsoft makes sizable donation to many such "think-tanks" and all of those "think-tanks" are Microsoft friendly - what a surprise. Just one of the many super ethical things that MS does for us.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        To be fair, Forbes did not compile the list. I think the so-called "think tank" is more to blame.

        Forbes decided to give credence to the think tank by publishing it. Have Forbes mentioned them in the past?

  • Forbes? (Score:2, Funny)

    by orangebook (924303)
    A list of ethical companies released by Forbes? What will be next, list of best people released by Hannibal Lecter?
  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:11PM (#35511538)

    You have to be when you are reporting in to your parole officer weekly.

  • Ethisphere Institute rockets to top of the list of least ethical research institutions displacing former champion Mindcraft.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:15PM (#35511578)

    There's a difference.

    Nearly 3,000 companies were nominated--or nominated themselves--to be considered this year. The record-high number of nominations and applications demonstrates companies' desire to be acknowledged for high ethical standards.

    See... companies nominate themselves... I wonder how much money under the table to the think tanks or people paid off it takes to be listed as most ethical? Is it as many as it takes to get OOXML a rubber stamp as an "open" standard?

    Ethisphere reviewed nominations from companies in more than 100 countries and 36 industries. Ethisphere's proprietary rating system, which it calls the Ethics Quotient, is based on a series of multiple-choice questions in a survey that is designed to capture a company's performance in an objective and standardized way.

    Ah, it's proprietary. That means first and foremost "We won't tell the specifics of how this was determined" That's what proprietary means, right? The exact details are secret, and therefore magically valid?

    The winnowing process includes reviewing codes of ethics and litigation and regulatory infraction histories

    Because unethical companies always have successful litigation/regulatory infractions against them, and ethical ones don't? There's no such thing as a regulatory agency being in bed with a corp. Judges are never corrupt. What's unethical is never legal and always breaks regulations, and what's ethical is always legal and never breaks regulations?

    evaluating investment in innovation and sustainable business practices

    Because innovative companies are automatically ethical and companies with "unsustainable" business practices are automatically unethical?

    Any company that has had significant legal trouble over the past five years is dropped.

    Because getting billion dollar fines in 2008 and being found liable for patent infringement is not significant legal troubles?

    Companies that focus on alcohol, tobacco or firearms also get the boot.

    Because it's arbitrarily declared unethical for Alcohol, Tobacco, or Firearms, to exist, or what? That alone totally undermines Ethisphere credibility.

    Firearms are essential for the preservation of human life.

    So is Alcohol.. first of all Alcohol is one of the first antiseptics humans made, has important medical scientific uses; has spurred many innovations. The product is not a bad one, and also, many "green fuel" producers are Alcohol companies (also referred to as Ethanol)

    • by e4g4 (533831)

      So is Alcohol.. first of all Alcohol is one of the first antiseptics humans made, has important medical scientific uses; has spurred many innovations. The product is not a bad one, and also, many "green fuel" producers are Alcohol companies (also referred to as Ethanol)

      Indeed. I mean, how many people owe their very existence to alcohol?

  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:18PM (#35511594)

    I was a subscriber for a while, until they sent me a renewal notice written to look like a collections notice. A prior orkplace used to routinely be named on a "Best Places to Work" list (not by Forbes, though) to the collective dismay of all who worked there. These sorts of lists don't mean what you think they mean, unless you think they don't mean anything.

  • "I don't want part of any club that would have me as a member".

  • by dido (9125) <dido@im[ ]ium.ph ['per' in gap]> on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:19PM (#35511618)

    I do not think it means what you think it means. For a convicted monopolist with a track record of betraying their partners, subverting governments and standards bodies, and all around ruthless behavior to make the list, I wonder if the word 'ethical' means something to them other than what my dictionary says it does. Oddly enough Google, with their 'don't be evil' motto, doesn't seem to have made the list. I know they have committed their share of sins over the years, but it seems that what they have done so far does not hold a candle to even what Microsoft has done over the last decade.

  • to get on the list

  • If I control the criteria for judging, I can name any company ethical or unethical, which is why lists such as this seem completely useless to me.
  • Microsoft repeatedly changed agreements with developers. At one point, they required developers to pay thousands of dollars for a two-year membership, and then less than a year later simply discontinued that program and replaced it with a similar program that required new payment.

    Microsoft sold Microsoft Money, claiming that it could import Quicken data. In fact, the box was empty but they promised a download in less than 60 days, which was repeatedly delayed. By then, it was too late to legally return the

  • Microsoft PAID for this right?

  • by Reed Solomon (897367) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @10:49PM (#35511904) Homepage

    It's a low appraisal of EVERYONE ELSE.

    Really though, Microsoft generally doesn't lock down their OS from tinkering (aside from lack of source), and unless windows mobile 7 has changed things you have file manager access and everything in their mobile platform. Android inexplicably doesn't come with a file manager last I checked. Absurd!

    And unlike Sony, they aren't sending cease and desist letters to kinect hackers.

    It is thanks to Microsoft (And IBM) we have the PC after all.

    And they could easily be far worse patent trolls than they currently are.

  • The guy who cheats less seems ethical? The only think stopping MS from dominating is the anti-trust lawsuits they lost in the last few years.

    If Microsoft is ethical in comparison to other corporations, what does that say about other corporations?
  • Actually, most of the world pre-WWII thought Hitler was one of the best and more brilliant leaders of the 20th century. Especially following the Olympic games. He was even praised as being multicultural and liberal during the Olympics (which, in case you didn't know, was the Reich's first true and widest international showcasing). Mind you he temporarily took down all the anti-Semitic signs, forced the citizens to treat the international guests like pampered kings and queens and hid any evidence of his a
  • I guess profiting from those who fence stolen property is not a disqualification.
  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:31AM (#35513618) Homepage
    If Microsoft is on the top of a list of ethical companies then consumers are truly fucked.
  • by Kensai7 (1005287) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @06:00AM (#35514030)

    Isn't it time for Slashdot to create an article icon for Apple as well? Yes, in the 90s Microsoft was the IT villain, but now Apple has surpassed it for good with its walled garden of closed experience. Time for a "Steve Jobs the Borg" avatar!! :p

  • by labradore (26729) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @09:56AM (#35515920)

    A corporation's only mandate is to make money. Microsoft doesn't poison wells or denude wetlands to make its money, but it's not estranged from all of the immoral-though-legal acts that every rich bastard makes use of to work the system. It's not a proud thing to be the most honest of all thieves.

    • by hduff (570443)

      It's not a proud thing to be the most honest of all thieves.

      It is if you're a thief; there's usually no honor among them.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @11:24AM (#35517144)

    The headline is probably true. Microsoft is probably among one of the most ethical corporations. That only means that corporations are not very ethical. That is reasonable given the facts. Their main goal is short term monetary gain for the quarterly report, they have the rights of a person and legally have none of the responsibilities of a person.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Working...