Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke to worries about the company’s controversial ICE contract, and he appears to have been somewhat successful. A survey from Team Blind suggests that the number of employees who want to keep it outnumber those who want to end it entirely.
Out of 1,180 Microsoft employees, 257 or 21.78% want to end the contract, while 55.68% want to keep it. 22.54% think the contact should remain, but should be altered. That puts the total of employees who think it should be ended or altered at 44%, a minority.
For the unfamiliar, the company admitted to providing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement with Azure Government in January. It said this technology enabled processing and deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition.
The information was largely unnoticed until media drew attention to the Trump administration’s separation of children from parents at the border. Then, over 300 employees published a letter petitioning Microsoft to stop its collaboration.
A Small Slice of the Pie
The fact that 300 of Microsoft’s 120,000 employees signed speaks to it being a minority mindset. However, the figures also make it clear that Team Blind’s results aren’t concrete evidence. The survey doesn’t represent a huge portion of the company’s employees, and there’s a number of factors at play.
The Blind app is meant to give workers insights from peers and contains over 40,000 Microsoft employees. Those who don’t have passionate opinion probably aren’t as likely to respond, and there could be a correlation between those who download the app and have particular ideologies.
However, it does give a general idea of the sentiment inside the company, as well as the entire tech industry. A survey of general tech workers found that 36.6% want Microsoft to end the contract, 20.59% modify it, and 42.8% leave it as is.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft employees are more dedicated to their company than others, but familiarity could also play a role. Even so, ignoring the ~44% of employees who disagree doesn’t seem like a good idea.