Microsoft employees made news two weeks ago when an open letter to the company was published on an internal channel and in The New York Times. In that letter, over 300 employees denounced the software maker’s collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and petitioned the company to stop working with an agency that has been separating children from their migrant parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
To find out what our users think of the employee protest at Microsoft, we ran another survey on our app.
The Survey Question
Should Microsoft end its federal contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?
A.) Yes, end the contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
B.) No, continue working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
C.) No, continue working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement but with new conditions.
We received a total of 5,166 replies from our users. Among that total, Microsoft employees contributed 1,180 answers. Here’s what we found:
The numbers show that the majority of overall users would like Microsoft to continue working with ICE. What’s interesting is that an even higher percentage of Microsoft employees answered the same. The large percentage of Microsoft users in favor of the company’s continued involvement with ICE isn’t surprising when we look back at the 300 plus signatures on the Microsoft petition. The company employs more than 120,000 people, so the number of signatories represent a small contingent of the company (about 0.25 percent).
When we combine the percentage of Microsoft employees who want the company to end contracts with ICE and the percentage of employees who want the contracts to be altered, the total adds up to around 44 percent. This means close to half of our surveyed Microsoft employees are discontent with the company’s current involvement with ICE.
Regardless of the amount of Microsoft employees expressing disapproval, the internal dissent brings awareness to the growing relationship between tech and our government, and also starts a discussion about how tech companies should conduct work with federal agencies. Should engagement with the government be guided by company ethics and principles? And if so, at what point should a company take a stand? Let us know what you think.
H/t to Wagner James Au for suggesting this survey!