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Microsoft's Ethical Guidelines 271 271

hankwang writes "Did you know that Microsoft has ethical guidelines? It's good to know that 'Microsoft did not make any payments to foreign government officials' while lobbying for OOXML, and that 'Microsoft conducts its business in compliance with laws designed to promote fair competition' every time they suppressed competitors. In their Corporate Citizenship section, they discuss how the customer-focused approach creates products that work well with those of competitors and open-source solutions. So all the reverse-engineering by Samba and developers wasn't really necessary."
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Microsoft's Ethical Guidelines

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  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @05:49AM (#25366447)
    I'll point out that they've had a big anti-trust target painted on their foreheads (both in the US and the EU) for a long long time now. I'm sure they actually do spend a lot of time making sure they don't run afoul of the local regulators, watchdog groups and newspapers.

    Having said that, Microsoft?? Ethics??? hahahahaha LET THE BASHING BEGIN! Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of assholes!
  • by golodh (893453) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @05:53AM (#25366455)
    The opening post displays a startling lack of insight as far as the purpose of having a Code of Conduct is concerned.

    There really do seem to be people who believe that a Code of Conduct is there to limit what a company can do. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    First and foremost, a Code of Conduct is an integral part of the company's PR effort. Every self-respecting company has to have one. It's cool to have one, and you look stupid and unsophisticated if you don't. Besides, there is no need to be without. There are templates with good-sounding Codes of Conduct that are guaranteed to leave everyone a comfortably free hand.

    Secondly: damage limitation. A Code of Conduct is there to be able to shield a company from legal consequences of unethical conduct by it's employees on its behalf. If an employee is caught red-handed, it really helps if a company is able to state (truthfully) that this action contravenes their official Code of Conduct. This can really limit the damage.

  • by b00le (714402) <interference@lib[ ].it ['ero' in gap]> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:06AM (#25366505) Homepage
    My own employers have an ethics code which is 33 pages of closely-spaced Maoist gibberish, most of which has nothing at all to do with the ethics of company, or managerial, behaviour and much of which is actually exhortations to blind obedience for employees. All corporations tend to authoritarianism, and these are the people who actually own the world, while blathering about freedom and democracy. The truth is that anyone employed by a large corporation spends most of their waking hours living in a totalitarian dictatorship - could this be what is wrong with Western Civilisation?
  • by alxtoth (914920) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:06AM (#25366509) Homepage
    If they repeat this stuff often enough, people will get used to it. Or even believe !
  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:08AM (#25366515) Journal

    You can pick any browser you want from these alternatives: IE6, IE7, IE8

    Not always. You can't pick IE6 AND Vista. Many sites work well only with IE6.

    Recent versions of Exchange Server work well only with IE7 or later. So in a Corporate setting with Win2K systems running IE6 for the Corporate Intranet, things get very clunky and unmanagable. Add multiple versions of SharePoint, Office, Active Directory... and pretty soon, you realise even Microsoft's products do not work well between and amnongst themselves. Unless you upgrade all of them, all at once. Which is pretty much impractical and terribly expensive.

  • by canix (1176421) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:20AM (#25366563)
    Strange definition of "works just fine" - works fine but not everything works. "Works just about" would have been better.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:22AM (#25366567)

    Uhm, Exchange 2003 at least certainly works with FireFox - I use it daily. It may not be as rich as the environment you get with IE, but it certainly is perfectly usable.

    But why? It looks like it's been specifically engineered that way, not anything technologically lacking in Firefox or Opera. Try replying to a neat HTML email in Firefox and it reverts to basic text, and looks terribly ugly. Also a simple plain vanilla email from Firefox is rendered in a miniscule size font when read with IE.

    Mere meaningless words on an ethics page will not make the products interoperable or promote user choice. This is 2008, not 1998.

  • by cryptodan (1098165) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @06:44AM (#25366639) Homepage

    "....Microsoft provides a broad range of policies, programs, and products that are focused on our commitment to responsible and ethical business practices that promote user choice, industry opportunity, interoperability, and transparency....."

    Last I checked Microsoft's Exchange Server works well only with IE. Unlike Gmail or Yahoo mail. Exchange is lousy with Firefox, Opera or Safari. Where is the choice?

    And Exchange Server 2008 I belive even screws up the IMAP support, so Thunderbird users get the bird as well... So much for interoperability and transparency.

    Have you used Lotus iNotes which is Lotus Notes for the web? It is completely broken and useless in non-internet explorer environments, so I would take your exchange bashing elsewhere. I prefer a somewhat working OWA then one that doesn't work at all.

  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:00AM (#25366709) Journal

    works fine but not everything works.

    What's been implemented is standards compliant. No, not 100% of Exchange web functionality available in IE is available to non IE browsers, but the 95% common functionality there is between the 2 implementations will work on any major browser - see [] for a brief rundown of what won't work on non-IE browsers.

    Finally, if you're looking for a web only email solution, don't use Exchange; that's not what it's designed for.

  • by nmg196 (184961) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:07AM (#25366741)

    > Many sites work well only with IE6.

    Yes, but you shouldn't use those sites as it means they're totally obsolete and haven't been updated in the last two years since IE7 was released.

  • Re:Censored tags? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:17AM (#25366767)

    What happened to the kdawsonfud tags?

    The problem with tags like these is that they get overused so that every story by kdawson ends up with one. One might argue that this might be entirely warranted due to constant bias, but it still looks like a knee-jerk reaction to any post. It dilutes the term when used too much.

    In this case: yes, it does seem unfair to associate these ethical guidelines with the reverse-engineering that went on prior to the guidelines being published. The work on Samba started over a decade before the Microsoft document was written.

    If the question was rephrased into the current tense, then the answer would be that it is not necessary to reverse engineer the protocols/file formats, because they have now been published by Microsoft. It may have been ten years later than we would have liked, but then Microsoft do have a habit of trying to ignore anything that might result in the reduction of lock-in for Windows until way too late. This was why they were late in seeing the Internet as a priority, along with XML, VMs, and now open source and interoperability.

  • by qmaqdk (522323) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @07:32AM (#25366855)

    I'm surprised at your reaction to this.

    MS bashing has been happening since Windows 95, and has since then become part of geek culture. It's all but automatic now, and just for fun. Like Chuck Norris jokes and the like. And you do know that this is /. right?

    In the nineties a friend of mine also used to get angry when I bashed MS (again just for fun), and it really confounded me that he would get so angry. Perhaps you can enlighten me?

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @08:09AM (#25367063)

    There is no way to search your messages from any browser except IE... that is a broken email program!

    I don't expect it to be as feature-rich as Outlook, and I don't even care if IE has more features... but SEARCH? As a result, I forward all of my mail to a gmail account. Yeah, yeah, yeah, what if my gmail is compromised. Cry me a river.

  • Ethics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @08:40AM (#25367263)
    Ethics: Things you can get fired for but Microsoft executives can't.
  • Re:Weasel words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @08:45AM (#25367303) Homepage

    More importantly - why bother to write that you'll do something that is a legal obligation anyway (debates about whether MS broke it are irrelevant). If they wrote "Microsoft will not conduct its business in compliance with laws designed to promote fair competition", then they'd be showing intention of breaking the law - there is no other interpretation.

    So what they've stated is basically a statutory requirement of them anyway. This is the sort of things that should warn you off a company - that they "agree" to abide by statutory legal requirements.

    "XYZ Plc. agrees not to mug your granny, charge you false bills, make up their end-of-year returns or sell stolen stock". Of course you bloody do, because you have no legal alternative and to state otherwise would be ludicrous.

    However "XYZ Plc agrees to be a good citizen in the Open Source community" has MUCH, MUCH more weight behind it because it's optional, binding and states an intention, not a requirement.

  • by Omnifarious (11933) <eric-slash&omnifarious,org> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:21AM (#25367691) Homepage Journal

    Oh, but Microsoft's public 'donations' are never without strings. They should be more appropriately be thought of as deep discounts on their products in order to foster lock-in.

    So when those deep discounts are being given to governments, especially when those governments are contemplating the sovereignty issues inherent in being locked-in to a single vendor, you have to start wondering whether or not the word 'bribe' isn't more appropriate. Microsoft is basically using economic inducements to entice governments into making decisions that are not in the long-term best interests of the people they supposedly represent.

  • Re:Ethics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:27AM (#25367753)
    I always tell my kids the same thing about politicians. Their words mean nothing. Look to their ACTIONS to learn the real story.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:38AM (#25367893)

    Now, now...

    Of course "Microsoft did not make any payments to foreign government officials" while lobbying for OOXML, what do you think wives, siblings, cousins, parents, children, shell corporations, and whatever is the European equivalent for a Political Action Comittee are for?

    It's just like a world class high school athlete getting recruited by an NCAA University. Of course we can't pay you directly, but would your mother like a $60K a year no-show job cleaning the dorms?

  • by filthpickle (1199927) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:14AM (#25368445)
    that might be the dumbest thing I have ever read on any messageboard anywhere on the net.
  • Re:Unsurprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:23AM (#25368583)
    Microsoft isn't evil. It simply spends a lot of it's time exploring the boundaries of the law around the world.

    Which makes it no different from any other public or private corporation in the world.

    If you can name an enterprise that operates on a global scale, rakes in $60 billion a year in revenues, and has never had its own encounters with the law, you are welcome to do so - now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @11:40AM (#25369779)

    do ... not ... feed ... the ... trolls ...


  • Re:Unsurprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Perky_Goth (594327) <paulomiguelmarques@gm a i l .com> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @01:11PM (#25371127) Homepage

    What does the law have to do with morals?

  • Re:Unsurprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by harry666t (1062422) <harry666t@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @01:49PM (#25371637)
    "Let's see how far can I push this knife against your skin before you start bleeding."
  • by nmg196 (184961) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @01:54PM (#25371695)

    > why the heck should a company spend the time and money to "update" them to IE 7?

    What, apart from the obvious?!

    IE 6 is about 7-8 years old and is CRAP. If you're happy to continue using that browser so that your intranet works, then feel free, but don't complain on here when you can't use the rest of the Internet when web developers stop supporting IE6 (as many have already done).

    > like making money for *us* instead of for MS.

    How, exactly does updating your intranet site so it works on IE7 (you know that FREE browser that comes with Windows) make money for MS? You don't need to pay MS to do it.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"