Friday, May 06, 2005

Microsoft does the right thing

Microsoft gave in to pressure, and now it's back where it started (and where it should be). The company recently announced that it was reversing its earlier decision to not support a Washington gay-rights bill it had previously endorsed.

Microsoft had supported earlier versions of the bill for several years. After an anti-gay pastor lobbied them against the bill, Microsoft did not endorse the bill this year (that's right, it took just one wingnut!). Liberal bloggers (led by John Aravosis of AmericaBlog) raised a ruckus, and Microsoft eventually reversed itself and announced that it would support the bill in the future.

I'm glad Microsoft is doing the right thing and supporting this bill. But they really blew it here. Now both sides know that Microsoft can be pressured. And both sides are unhappier with the company than if it had just stayed with its original support.

So by caving in the first place, and then un-caving (or is it re-caving?), Microsoft has earned itself a future of more hassle and more ill-will — from both sides.
Microsoft to Support Gay-Rights Bill, C.E.O. Says

Published: May 6, 2005

Filed at 5:17 p.m. ET

SEATTLE (AP) -- After being criticized for quietly dropping support for a state gay rights bill, Microsoft Corp. chief executive Steve Ballmer told employees Friday that management would publicly back such legislation in the future.

Ballmer's commitment came two weeks after activists accused the company of caving to pressure from an evangelical pastor who had threatened to launch a nationwide boycott of the software company.


Liberal bloggers called the company a corporate coward and posted rallying cries for their own boycott of Microsoft products. Gay rights groups said they'd keep pressuring Microsoft until the company once again came out in support of the bill.

Sen. Val Stevens, a Republican from Arlington, Wash., said Friday she was disappointed Microsoft had changed its stance. ''This is not a good place for a company the size and magnitude of Microsoft to be (in) now,'' she said in a prepared statement. ''I know it must be difficult for the employees who do not agree with their policy.'' ...


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