Tag Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft Lifts Secrecy Veil in Harassment Cases, Will Others Follow?
December 20, 2017 12:52 am|Comments (0)

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it will no longer require employees to resolve sexual-harassment claims through private arbitration, one of the first signs that the legal contracts long used to hide workplace misconduct may be starting to crumble under the pressure of the #MeToo movement.

Roughly 60 million Americans are subject to mandatory arbitration agreements, generally as part of employment contracts they signed when they were hired. The agreements compel employees to address claims through a private arbiter rather than in court, which can keep victims in the dark about prior harassment claims, shield serial abusers, and hide sexual harassment from public scrutiny.

Microsoft says it made the change as it prepared to throw its support behind a bill proposed by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) that would make forced arbitration in harassment cases unenforceable under federal law. “After returning from Washington to Seattle, we also reflected on a second aspect of the issue. We asked ourselves about our own practices and whether we should change any of them,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer wrote on the company’s corporate blog.

Forced arbitration agreements are popular in Silicon Valley, where employers often impose strict confidentiality provisions that keep employment issues private. Now the question is whether other big players will follow Microsoft’s lead.

Amazon says it doesn’t ask employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements. A Facebook spokesperson says the company is looking into the Graham-Gillibrand proposal and referred to the company’s harassment policy. Uber, Google, and Apple did not immediately respond to questions from WIRED about arbitration agreements for sexual harassment or their support for the new bill. Uber’s employment contracts include a binding arbitration clause, but the company now gives employees 30 days to opt-out of that clause, Uber told WIRED in June.

Confidentiality provisions, including nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) and non-disparagement clauses, came under fire after news reports revealed how these contracts were used to shield serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and Roger Ailes, by silencing victims.

Earlier this month, experts told WIRED that reforming these contracts would help pierce the secrecy around sexual harassment. Both former Uber engineer Susan Fowler and former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson have identified forced arbitration clauses as legal impediments for harassment victims. Fowler, whose harassment allegations led to the ouster of former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in August in support of an ongoing Supreme Court case to determine whether forced arbitration violates federal law. Carlson, who sued Ailes for sexual harassment, joined Graham and Gillibrand at a press conference introducing their bill earlier this month.

Microsoft’s public stand against secrecy follows a Bloomberg story last week about a rape claim from a female Microsoft intern, which came to light as part of a two-year-old class-action lawsuit against Microsoft for gender discrimination.

The rape allegation from the Microsoft intern emerged in recently unsealed documents in the class action suit. According to Bloomberg, the intern was required to keep working alongside her alleged rapist while the company investigated her claim.

The policy change may be relatively simpler to implement at Microsoft, which typically does not include arbitration agreements in its employment contracts. In his blog post, Smith said a review found that only “a small segment” of its 125,000 employees “have contractual clauses requiring pre-dispute arbitration for harassment claims in employment agreements.” That covers a few hundred people. A Microsoft spokesperson says the company also will not compel arbitration related to gender discrimination, which is included in the proposed legislation.

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Microsoft search engine Bing to focus on PC search market: CEO
September 27, 2017 10:30 pm|Comments (0)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said on Wednesday the company’s search engine, Bing, will focus on expanding in the PC search market after losing its deal with Apple Inc’s Siri.

“Bing is a big business growing at a strong double-digit rate, and we see a significant opportunity for us even on the PC side,” Nadella said at a Reuters newsmaker event in New York.

Earlier this week, Apple said it would replace Bing as its default search engine for Siri on iOS and Spotlight on Mac with Alphabet Inc’s Google.

Reporting by Angela Moon and Salvador Rodriguez; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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IDG Contributor Network: Going Interstellar With Microsoft Cosmos
August 4, 2017 8:10 am|Comments (0)

At Microsoft’s Build developer conference last week, the company announced Cosmos DB, a new cloud database offering that, if you believe the hype, entirely changed the database game. Before reelecting on what this means for developers and organizations, it’s worth taking a look at what Cosmos is.

Cosmos is a schema-free database service built with the aim of delivering high performance, fault tolerance, automatic indexing of data and truly globally distributed scalability. Cosmos is, at least in part, the evolution of Microsoft’s previous DocumentDB offering. DocumentDB was Redmond’s first foray into the NoSQL world. And while DocumentDB was a NoSQL choice in contrast to Microsoft’s relation offerings, Cosmos DB is multi-modal, offering developers the options to store relational or non-relational data. Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s perennially red-shirted Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group, described Cosmos as, “the first globally distributed, multi-model database service delivering turnkey global horizontal scale out with guaranteed uptime and millisecond latency at the 99th percentile.”

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Microsoft Opens First Cloud Data Centers in South Africa
July 26, 2017 12:25 pm|Comments (0)

“The data centers, which will serve customers of the software giant’s Azure cloud-computing business, will be the first of their size built in Africa by one …


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Microsoft Research shows off its augmented reality glasses
July 17, 2017 4:40 pm|Comments (0)

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Because we’re spoiled and don’t appreciate amazing technology unless it’s immediately convenient, some tech pundits are dismissing VR in favor of AR, but the fact is that we’re still years away from easy to use AR glasses. For now, mainstream AR is limited to your smartphone, like most other apps. 

However, a team at Microsoft Research is looking to speed up the progress on wearable AR devices and have introduced a prototype as proof. 

Before Snap can turn its Spectacles wearable camera into a vehicle for its augmented reality app filters, Microsoft’s team presented a pair of glasses on Friday that use near-eye displays to produce holograms to the wearer.  Read more…

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Microsoft Research shows off its augmented reality glasses
July 6, 2017 2:40 am|Comments (0)

TwitterFacebook

Because we’re spoiled and don’t appreciate amazing technology unless it’s immediately convenient, some tech pundits are dismissing VR in favor of AR, but the fact is that we’re still years away from easy to use AR glasses. For now, mainstream AR is limited to your smartphone, like most other apps. 

However, a team at Microsoft Research is looking to speed up the progress on wearable AR devices and have introduced a prototype as proof. 

Before Snap can turn its Spectacles wearable camera into a vehicle for its augmented reality app filters, Microsoft’s team presented a pair of glasses on Friday that use near-eye displays to produce holograms to the wearer.  Read more…

More about Virtual Reality, Vr, Wearable Tech, Augmented Reality, and Ar


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Microsoft announces new data and cloud solutions at Build
May 13, 2017 2:50 pm|Comments (0)

Microsoft also introduced Azure IoT Edge, a technology that extends the intelligence and benefits of cloud computing to edge devices. They want to …


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Microsoft moves cloud intelligence to the network edge
May 13, 2017 1:35 am|Comments (0)

Cloud computing has become a concept that most people in technology recognize and at least partially understand, so it’s no surprise that the cloud is …
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Microsoft is on the edge: Windows, Office? Naah. Let's talk about cloud, AI
May 10, 2017 8:40 pm|Comments (0)

In other words, all the data coming off connected devices requires both local and cloud computing resources. The revolution will not be centralized.


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Vibal partners with Microsoft for GovCloud
May 8, 2017 2:30 am|Comments (0)

Advances in cloud computing has already been part of our signed 2016 manifesto with the DICT entitled, ‘Shared Prosperity: An ICT Manifesto for the …

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