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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Vows to Act Tough on Harassment

This is not the first time Microsoft faced scrutiny for sexual harassment claims

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Microsoft doesn't use customers' data for profit: Satya Nadella. (Wikimedia Commons)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said the company is making sweeping changes in its HR practices to address complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination at the workplace.

In a letter to the employees obtained by Quartz, Nadella on Monday said the tech giant would create a new “Employee Advocacy Team”.

The letter came in the wake of an email chain full of sexual harassment claims by women employees.

Started on March 20, the email chain contains allegations of sexual harassment ranging from sexist comments during work trips to being told to sit on a co-worker’s lap in front of a human resources leader.

“I’m disappointed to hear about any behaviour in our workplace that falls short of the diverse and inclusive culture we are striving to create. But I’m encouraged that people feel empowered to speak up and demand change. I want all of us to learn and act on this feedback,” Nadella wrote.

According to an account of one female Microsoft employee in the email chain, an employee of a partner company threatened to kill her if she did not perform implied sexual acts.

The employee said she had raised an alarm, but HR and the management did nothing to assuage her concerns.

Another employee alleged that while she was working as a “Microsoft Partner” – a senior level person in the organisation – she was asked to sit on a co-worker’s lap.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers the keynote address at Build, the company’s annual conference for software developers. VOA

“As a Microsoft Partner, was asked to sit on someone’s lap twice in one meeting in front of HR and other executives,” she wrote, adding that no one objected to the demand.

Nadella said the company would provide additional support and more information for employees who raise complaints about employee behaviour.

“HR is also creating a new Employee Advocacy Team that will focus exclusively on assisting employees going through a workplace investigation, including helping employees understand the process, guiding them through investigations and following up after investigations are finished to check in on the employees involved,a the Microsoft CEO informed.

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Microsoft would develop new company-wide disciplinary guidelines for work-related misbehaviour.

“When an investigation is finished, we will provide to a manager both a factual conclusion about the findings and the range of expected discipline,” Nadella said.

This is not the first time Microsoft faced scrutiny for sexual harassment claims.

According to a class action lawsuit filed in March 2018, the software giant did not take seriously 238 cases of sexual harassment or discrimination between 2010 and 2016. (IANS)

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Microsoft Acquires Express Logic to Push IoT Dream

Microsoft is getting an established company with a proven product that can help it scale its Azure IoT business

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

Microsoft has acquired San Diego-based software company Express Logic, that makes software for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, to accelerate IoT development for billions of devices at scale.

With this acquisition, Microsoft said late Thursday it will unlock access to billions of new connected endpoints, grow the number of devices that can seamlessly connect to its Azure Cloud and enable new intelligent capabilities.

“I am incredibly excited to share we have acquired Express Logic, a leader in real time operating systems (RTOS) for IoT and edge devices powered by micro-controller units (MCUs),” said Sam George, Director, Azure IoT at Microsoft.

Manufacturers building products across categories — from low capacity sensors like light bulbs and temperature gauges to air conditioners, medical devices, and network appliances — leverage the size, safety and security benefits of Express Logic solutions to achieve faster time to market.

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Logo of Microsoft outside it’s office. Pixabay

“Even highly constrained devices (battery powered and having less than 64KB of flash memory) can use Express Logic solutions. Over 9 billion of these MCU-powered devices are built and deployed globally every year, many of which can benefit from Express Logic solutions,” said Microsoft.

Microsoft is getting an established company with a proven product that can help it scale its Azure IoT business.

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The acquisition is part of a $5 billion investment in IoT the company announced last April that includes a number of Azure pieces, such as Azure Sphere, Azure Digital Twins, Azure IoT Edge, Azure Maps and Azure IoT Central. (IANS)