Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions.

Primarily in the 1990s, critics contend Microsoft used monopolistic business practices and anti-competitive strategies including refusal to deal and tying, put unreasonable restrictions in the use of its software, and used misrepresentative marketing tactics; both the U.S. Department of Justice and European Commission found the company in violation of antitrust laws. Known for its interviewing process with obscure questions, various studies and ratings were generally favorable to Microsoft's diversity within the company as well as its overall environmental impact with the exception of the electronics portion of the business.

One evil thing: In April, the Financial Times found that Microsoft’s research branch in China had worked on three A.I. research papers with the country’s National University of Defense Technology, which is controlled by the military. The research topics included facial recognition, which critics in the U.S. said could help the Chinese government monitor and oppress its citizens, particularly the Uighurs in Xinjiang. This isn’t just a hypothetical concern. In 2016, the company created a public database of 10 million images of 100,000 writers, activists, policymakers, and other prominent figures without their consent. The Chinese companies SenseTime and Megvii, which develop the surveillance technologies that the country’s government uses to monitor Xinjiang, had tapped into this database to train their facial recognition systems. Facing scrutiny, Microsoft shut the database down this June.

Our respondents say: “Microsoft president Brad Smith’s recent book tour presented Microsoft as the kinder, friendlier, Big Tech giant. The reality is that with its investment in cloud services and its acquisitions of LinkedIn, Skype, GitHub, Minecraft, and other data-rich services, Microsoft is merely following Google’s playbook in building a business on surveillance and control.” —Mark Hurst, Creative Good

Dissent: “For many years, both Microsoft and Apple essentially tried to create closed, vertically integrated ecosystems and went to great pains to maintain control and keep competitors out. Today both strike me as changing: Microsoft is embracing both open source and cloud services, and Apple is making devices more interoperable with third-party products. Both of these are good for competition. This is not to say they are both there yet—I still have my issues with Apple’s walled-garden App Store—but the trends are definitely important.” —Charles Duan

Microsoft’s headquarters is in the Seattle area; while it’s just as powerful and monolithic as Boeing, the company handles its world domination with a bit more flair and a lot less crushing of the human spirit. The agents within the establishment are able to sustain sizable paychecks while treasuring their access to valuable equipment. Their hidden clashes with Boeing, however, could erupt into a major economic war in a very short time. The constant bickering between Microsoft and Apple Computers is a ruse to keep enemies off-guard. The two companies both cover a secret society of Cybernauts who do most of their work on the Internet.

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