Microsoft response: technology and the US military
Over the last few months there has been a debate in our industry about when and how technology companies should work with the government, and specifically whether companies should supply digital technology to the military... Our work as a company in this space is based on three straightforward convictions... we believe in the strong defense of the United States and we want the people who defend it to have access to the nation’s best technology, including from Microsoft. Second, we appreciate the important new ethical and policy issues that artificial intelligence is creating for weapons and warfare. We want to use our knowledge and voice as a corporate citizen to address these in a responsible way through the country’s civic and democratic processes. Third, we... don’t ask or expect everyone who works at Microsoft to support every position the company takes... As is always the case, if our employees want to work on a different project or team – for whatever reason – we want them to know we support talent mobility.
... Recently Microsoft bid on an important defense project...“JEDI” – which will re-engineer the Defense Department’s end-to-end IT infrastructure, from the Pentagon to field-level support of the country’s servicemen and women... We readily decided this summer to pursue this project, given our longstanding support for the Defense Department... We believe that the debate about the role of the tech sector and the military in this country has sometimes missed two fundamental points. First, we believe that the people who defend our country need and deserve our support. And second, to withdraw from this market is to reduce our opportunity to engage in the public debate about how new technologies can best be used in a responsible way. We are not going to withdraw from the future. In the most positive way possible, we are going to work to help shape it.