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Microsoft CEO defends Pentagon contract after employee outcry



Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today defended the company's multimillion-dollar contract with the Pentagon for delivery of augmented reality headsets in an interview with CNN Business. Dozens of employees publicly criticized the same contract last week, calling on the company to close its ties with the US military.

On Friday, a group of about 50 Microsoft employees released a letter requesting that the company almost withdrew from the deal for $ 480 million to deliver up to 100,000 HoloLens devices to the US -Military. The company prevailed over competitors such as Magic Leap last November and eventually won the contract to supply the headsets to the Department of Defense. The Pentagon described the project as a method to increase "lethality by improving the ability to recognize the enemy, to decide and to act before the enemy" by using AR. It is likely that the US military is modifying the soldiers' headsets with support from Microsoft.

In an interview with CNN Business at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, a day after the second-generation HoloLens was unveiled, Nadella objected to employee criticism. "We have made a principled decision that we do not want to withhold technology that we have chosen in democracies, technology to protect our freedoms," he said. "We were very open about this decision and will continue to lead this dialogue [with employees]."

The letter, circulated last Friday, argued that Microsoft's consent "marks the border with weapon development exceeded "the AR devices deliver to the military. The employees said that "the intention to cause harm is not an acceptable use of our technology."

This is not the first time that Microsoft has had internal criticism of its work with the government. Hundreds of employees signed a letter last summer calling on Microsoft to provide services to the US Immigration and Customs Bureau (ICE). The employees demanded that Microsoft end this relationship, but the executives continued to defend their work with the US government.


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