Corporations previously outspoken about hot-button social issues have stayed quiet on the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade after a dramatic fight between Disney and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over the company’s political activism.
Following the leak of a draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats are trying to ram through a bill legalizing third trimester abortions; however, corporations are largely staying out of the fray, following Disney’s disastrous battle with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that ended with the company losing its special tax privileges.
Google’s Chief Legal Officer and President of Global Affairs Kent Walker accused Microsoft on Friday of “carving out” an exception to a bill targeting app stores operated by Google and Apple.
The Open App Markets Act, introduced by Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a near-unanimous vote Thursday. Microsoft president Brad Smith applauded the passage of the bill in tweet shortly after, writing that the legislation “would promote competition, and ensure fairness and innovation in the app economy.”
Walker responded to Smith’s tweet accusing the software company of “carving out” an exception in the legislation favoring Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console and service.
Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta spent more money in 2021 lobbying lawmakers and officials than any year before, according to lobbying disclosure filings.
Amazon spent $20.3 million on lobbying while Meta spent $20.1 million in 2021, according to a review of lobbying disclosure filings by MarketWatch. The figures are record totals for both tech companies, who spent $18.9 million and $19.7 million on lobbying in 2020, respectively.
Google’s lobbying spend for 2021 clocked in at $11.5 million, while Microsoft spent $10.3 million and Apple spent $6.5 million, according to MarketWatch’s review.
Microsoft agreed to purchase video game giant Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion, its largest acquisition in company history, multiple sources reported.
Microsoft announced Tuesday that it agreed to purchase Activision Blizzard in an all-cash deal, further broadening the tech giant’s video game portfolio. Upon completion, the deal w0uld make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company, behind Tencent and Sony.
“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Microsoft chairman and chief executive Satya Nadella said in a press release. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has called for a “new way of doing the vaccines” against viruses like COVID-19 given that they do not “block” transmission.
Gates said the “economic damage” and death toll from COVID-19 was “completely horrific.”
Gates expects the world’s experience with COVID-19 to lead to larger research and development budgets to better prepare for a future pandemic.
Microsoft was ridiculed on social media Thursday for including land acknowledgments, pronoun statements and references to hairstyles in its corporate introductions.
While giving presentations during the Microsoft Ignite 2021 conference on Tuesday, Microsoft employees recognized that the land they were currently standing on previously belonged to Native American tribes.
The same group of Russian hackers behind the December 2020 SolarWinds attack are targeting companies in the U.S. technology supply chain, according to a Monday report released by Microsoft.
Russian hacking group Nobelium is targeting cloud infrastructure companies and information technology software resellers in an attempt to gain access to these companies’ customers, according to Microsoft’s research. Microsoft believes Nobelium to be the same group responsible for the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 that affected multiple Cabinet-level agencies, federal contractors and critical infrastructure companies.
“This recent activity is another indicator that Russia is trying to gain long-term, systematic access to a variety of points in the technology supply chain and establish a mechanism for surveilling – now or in the future – targets of interest to the Russian government,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president for customer security and trust, wrote in the report.
Big Tech companies reported massive, record-breaking earnings figures as their sales continued to surge amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Google, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter all beat earnings estimates and showed large revenue growth, executives for the tech companies said during earnings calls Tuesday evening. The four companies’ earnings reports suggested that the growth experienced by Big Tech during the pandemic will continue apace.
“Our long-term investments in AI and Google Cloud are helping us drive significant improvements in everyone’s digital experience,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement Tuesday, explaining his company’s strong performance.
Microsoft was given an advance copy of major antitrust legislation, a document given to Republican Rep. Thomas Massie by a whistleblower appeared to show.
The document is the original version of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, one of Democrats’ six pending antitrust bills targeting Big Tech, according to Rep. Thomas Massie. Every page of the document, which the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained on Wednesday, is watermarked with the text “CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.”
“I just came into possession of a document that everyone needs to know about,” Massie said during the Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation on Wednesday. “It’s marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.’ A whistleblower provided this. It’s the first draft of one of these bills that would’ve covered Microsoft. This begs the question: did Microsoft have this bill and the other bills that we are voting on today before I had this bill?”
Microsoft’s search engine Bing appeared to censor images of the protester who stood in front of a Chinese tank during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
A Bing Images search of “tank man” yielded no results and a prompt for the user to check their spelling as of Friday afternoon. However, an identical search on Google Images produced hundreds of results including many of the iconic moment.
The famous “tank man” photo was taken on June 5, 1989, one day after the 1989 massacre in which Chinese troops fired indiscriminately upon civilians demonstrating against the government, killing hundreds. The photo showed a Chinese protester, who has since become known as “tank man,” standing in front of a procession of Chinese tanks rolling through Tiananmen Square.
Bill and Melinda Gates announced in a statement on Monday that they will be divorcing after more than a quarter century of marriage.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” the former couple said in a statement. “We continue to share belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
More corporations are speaking out against Georgia’s voter reform law, otherwise known as Senate Bill 202. Officials at Microsoft, American Express, Google and others this week condemned SB 202 as a form of voter suppression.
Employees at Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, donated at least $15.1 million to President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to Open Secrets.
The donations eclipsed the amount given from employees in the banking and legal sectors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The five companies were also the largest fundraising sources for Biden’s campaign.
Non-profit VA Ready announced this week a $30,000 award from Microsoft. The non-profit focuses on quickly training disadvantaged workers in Virginia with new job skills that are in demand.
Microsoft officials announced last week that they disrupted 94 percent of a global ransomware network with a presence in eastern Virginia, according to a press release and court documents. The “Trickbot” ransomware is used to steal data from individuals and organizations, and could threaten U.S. elections.