Microsoft
Software company
World's #1 software company. One of the 3 big computer game console makers, along with Nintendo and Sony. Products include Windows, Office, Xbox, LinkedIn and Skype.

Overall

Owned USA
Rating C
About the Ratings
Microsoft Corporation
USA

Company Assessment

Microsoft Corporation
Praise
The Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) evaluates consumer-facing companies that have a sizeable supply chain in China. The evaluation uses government supervision data and public information to assess the environmental management of their supply chains in China. This company received a score of 67.78/100 (retrieved 24 Nov 2023).
Source: IPE (2023)
In 2022, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change Score of A.
Source: CDP (2022)
As You Sow's 2022 report, 'Road to Zero Emissions', assessed the progress of 55 of the largest U.S. corporations in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the Paris Agreement's objective of limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which requires achieving "net zero" emissions by 2050. Companies are graded on: climate related disclosures; GHG reduction targets, and GHG reductions. This company received an Overall Net Zero grade of A.
This company is listed on the EPA Green Power Partnership website (USA) as using renewable energy for 100% of its organisation-wide electricity use in the USA.
Source: EPA (2023)
In 2022, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to manage and govern freshwater resources. Responding companies are scored on six key metrics: transparency; governance & strategy; measuring & monitoring; risk assessment; targets & goals; and value chain engagement. This company received a CDP Water Security Score of A-.
Source: CDP (2022)
As You Sow's 2019 report, Mining the Disclosures, is a deep analysis of 215 companies' human rights performance in relation to sourcing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This company's score was 83.8% (Leading).
America's Most Responsible Companies 2022 by Newsweek and Statista recognises the Top 500 most responsible companies in the United States. Companies were evaluated in three areas: environmental (waste, energy use, etc.), social (leadership diversity, employees and philanthropy) and governance (transparency and economic performance). This company received a total score of 86.3/100, ranking 2nd in the Software & Telecommunications sector, and 32nd overall.
JUST Capital polls Americans every year to identify the issues that matter most in defining just business behaviour. For their 2024 rankings the public identified 20 issues, which are organised under the headings Workers, Communities, Customers, Shareholders and Environment. JUST Capital then define metrics that map to those issues and track and analyse the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies. This analysis powers their rankings, in which this company ranked 42nd of 937 companies, and 5th of 59 Software companies.
The 2023 Digital Inclusion Benchmark ranks 200 companies on their responsibility to advance a more inclusive digital society. The companies were assessed using four measurement areas: access, skills, use and innovation. This company ranked #6/200, with a total score of 62.6/100.
InfluenceMap's 2021 A-List of Climate Policy Engagement identifies 15 corporate leaders advocating for ambitious climate policy across a range of sectors and regions. To qualify, a company must exhibit sufficient support for ambitious climate policy, strategic levels of engagement with climate policy, and leadership in its sector. Links to industry associations egregiously opposing climate policy can disqualify a company from the list. The report also offers 21 'Potential Leaders', including his company, which appear to be on the right track.
This company is listed as having best practice on a report card on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in corporate America.
The 2024 Social Benchmark assesses the world's 2,000 most influential companies on their responsibility in meeting society's fundamental expectations towards three measurement areas: respecting human rights, providing decent work, and acting ethically. This company was assessed in 2023 and received a score of 11.5/20. The average score was an alarmingly low 4.6/20 and the highest score was 15.5/20.
World's Most Sustainable Companies of 2024 by TIME and Statista recognises the Top 500 most sustainable companies in the world. From a selection of 5,000 of the world's largest companies, non-sustainable businesses were excluded, and the remaining companies were rated on Commitment & Ratings, Reporting & Transparency, and Environmental & Social Stewardship. This company received a total score of 73.5/100, ranking 64th overall.
Source: TIME (2024)
Criticism
The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including brands owned by this company. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute's 2020 report estimates (somewhat conservatively) that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps.
Source: ASPI (2020)
'The Big Con' is a 2021 report by Corporate Accountability, Friends of the Earth and others that makes clear that Big Polluters' idea of "net zero" is part of their continued plan to protect deeply unjust global systems, distract from taking the real action needed, and to evade responsibility for the climate crisis and to continue to pollute. This company was named in the report as one whose "net zero" climate commitments are anything but real action.
As You Sow's 2024 Plastic Promises Scorecard measures the corporate ambition and action of 225 large companies across six industries on six core pillars of plastic packaging pollution prevention: 1) Recyclability, 2) Reduction, 3) Recycled Content, 4) Recovery, 5) Reuse, and 6) Producer Responsibility. This company received a grade of D+.
In 2022 KnowTheChain benchmarked 60 information, communications and technology (ICT) companies on their efforts to identify and tackle forced labour risks in their supply chains. This company received a score of 33/100. The average score was 20/100 and the highest score was 63.
This company was among the US Top 20 Defense Contractors derived from the 2019 Washington Technology Top 100 list, based on their 2018 defense contract revenue. Microsoft was number 52 with a defense revenue of US$366 million.
Engineers from ifixit.com disassembled and analysed a range of smartphones, tablets and laptops, awarding each a repairability score between one and ten. Ten is the easiest to repair. A device with a perfect score will be relatively inexpensive to repair because it is easy to disassemble and has a service manual available. Points are docked based on the difficulty of opening the device, the types of fasteners found inside, and the complexity involved in replacing major components. Points are awarded for upgradability, use of non-proprietary tools for servicing, and component modularity. Products released by this company between 2017 and 2020 scored between 0 and 6 points.
In 2023 Microsoft agreed to pay US$20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting personal information from children who signed up to its Xbox gaming system without notifying their parents or obtaining their parents' consent, and by illegally retaining children's personal information.
This company is on OpenSecrets.org's list of "Top Donors", a list of the 100 biggest givers in US federal-level politics since 1990. Companies on this list lobby and spend big, with large sums sent to candidates, parties and leadership PACs. This company comes in at number 24 on the list, with contributions totalling $76,460,490 between 1990 and 2020.
In 2022 the median pay for a worker at this company was US$190,302. The CEO was paid 289 times this amount. Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality. CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more). In contrast, the CEO-to-typical-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 58-to-1 in 1989.
On 22 July 2019 the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission announced that Microsoft Corporation agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with its operations in four different foreign based subsidiaries (Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey). Microsoft Hungary also agreed to pay a criminal fine of $8,751,795 on related charges.
The Invest Your Values Corporate Retirement Plan Sustainability Scorecard by As You Sow rates retirement plans on seven environmental and social sustainability issues. This company's default corporate retirement plan offered to employees is the BlackRock BTC LifePath which is rated Fair for gender equality and civilian firearms, and Poor for fossil fuels, deforestation, prison industrial complex, military weapons and tobacco.
As You Sow's 2021 report, 'The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs', reveals the 100 most overpaid CEOs from USA's 500 largest public companies (as determined by the S&P 500 list). This company's CEO, Satya Nadella came in at number 24 on the list, having been paid US$42,910,215 in 2020. According to the report, "Most CEOs have come to be grossly overpaid, and that overpayment is harmful to the companies, the shareholders, the customers, the other employees, the economy, and society as a whole."
Information
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition's Recycling Report Card evaluates takeback and recycling programs for computer, TV, printer and game console companies. The report card focuses on the programs available to consumers in the US, and relies on publicly available information, as of Sept 2010. This company received a grade of D- for its recycling efforts in the USA.
Identified in 'The Big Chill: Too Scared to Speak' report which identified Chinese Olympic Sponsors response to Darfur crisis in Sudan. Received a D-. These companies received a grade slightly higher than outright failure because they met with the campaign.
In 2009, Microsoft advertised its new 'green' version of Windows with a widespread campaign, but it has also been encouraging consumers to increase their carbon footprint by buying a new computer early in order to make the most of the 'green' software. Consumers International therefore charged Microsoft with greenwashing. [Listed under information due to age of award]
Major corporations, including this one, use prison labour in the USA, where prisoners are paid slave wages as low as 23 cents an hour doing work which is often dangerous, toxic and unprotected. While much of the work done by prisoners is for the military, other major corporations are taking advantage of the cheap labour in both federal and state US prisons.
This 2015 report by Good Electronics rates electronics companies on their compliance with labour rights in Mexico. This company was rated 'insufficient'.
A 2017 report by Amnesty International, 'Time to Recharge' ranks major electronics and car companies on how much they have improved their cobalt sourcing practices since January 2016. The report found that while a handful of companies have made progress, many are still not doing enough to stop human rights abuses entering their cobalt supply chains, even though their products could be linked to child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This company was rated 'no action taken'. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
As documented by the Project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), this company is involved in the USA prison industry. Microsoft provides tools and infrastructure used by the US government to surveil immigrant communities and to manage prisons. Divested AnyVision for surveilling Palestinians but keeps providing services to the Israeli police.
Source: AFSC (2021)
The European Union fined this company 561m euros (US$731m)for failing to comply with a 2009 agreement relating to its practice of automatically installing Internet Explorer as the browser for Windows customers. Microsoft had agreed to pay an 860m euro (US$1.2b) fine and offer a choice of browsers in the future. It then violated the agreement from May 2011 to July 2012 affecting 15 million installations and was sanctioned for its failure to comply.
In 2012, this company lost its appeal against a fine imposed by the European Commission in 2008 for breaking antitrust laws. The case began in 1988, a 497m euro fine was imposed in 2004 along with orders to allow competitors' products to interface properly with Microsoft's server software, a further penalty of 280.3m euros was imposed in 2006 for non-compliance and another penalty of 899m euros in 2008. In 2012, the Grand Court adjusted the 2008 penalty for miscalculation to 860m euros so the case cost Microsoft a total 1.64b euros in fines and penalties. [Listed under Information due to age of court finding]
Greenpeace's 2017 report 'Clicking Clean' looks at the energy footprints of large data centre operators and popular websites and applications, and calls on these companies to power their data centres on renewable energy. Companies are graded (A,B,C,D,F) on their commitment to and procurement of renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency, transparency and advocacy. This company's final grade was B. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: adopt a science-based emissions reduction target; commit to 100% renewable power.
This company is a member of the Playing for the Planet Alliance, a group of gaming-companies who have made voluntary, ambitious, specific, and time-based commitments for people and planet. Commitments involve: Corporate carbon footprint reductions and a collective shift to green energy; insertion of green nudges into games; commitments to offset emissions (from internal operations and gamers' devices); new circular economy design and recycling offerings to control plastic and e-waste.
B+ grade in the Baptist World Aid Australia's Behind the Barcode 'Ethical Electronics Guide 2016', which grades companies on their efforts to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation throughout their supply chains. Assessment criteria fall into four main categories: policies, traceability & transparency, monitoring & training and worker rights. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This 2016 scorecard by SOMO compares electronics companies on their policies and efforts regarding responsible mining and the elimination of child labour, with special attention to the mining of gold. This company is above industry standard on 5 out of 7 criteria.
In November 2017 the Enough Project published Demand the Supply, which ranked consumer electronics and jewelry retail companies on their efforts to develop conflict-free minerals supply chains from Congo. Companies were ranked on reporting; sourcing conflict-free minerals from Congo; supporting the artisanal mining communities in Eastern Congo; and conflict-free minerals advocacy. This company received a score of 73/120. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
The United Nations Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of 10 values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. However it's non-binding nature has been widely criticised, and many signatory corporations continue to violate the Compact's values.
This company is a participant in the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA), a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder initiative to support supply chain solutions to conflict minerals challenges in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes Region (GLR) of Central Africa. The PPA provides funding and coordination support to organizations working within the region to develop verifiable conflict-free supply chains; align chain-of-custody programs and practices; encourage responsible sourcing from the region; promote transparency; and bolster in-region civil society and governmental capacity.
Source: PPA (2019)
This company is a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition), a non-profit coalition of electronics companies which supports the rights and wellbeing of workers and communities worldwide affected by the global electronics supply chain. RBA members commit and are held accountable to a common Code of Conduct and utilize a range of RBA training and assessment tools to support continuous improvement in the social, environmental and ethical responsibility of their supply chains.
Source: RBA (2022)
This company is a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (formerly the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative), which helps companies address conflict minerals issues in their supply chains. The RMI provides information on conflict-free smelters and refiners, common tools to gather sourcing information, and forums for exchanging best practices on addressing conflict minerals. Membership is open to companies that use or transact in tantalum, tin, tungsten or gold (3TG). Founded in 2008 by members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.
Source: RMI (2019)
This company has Corporate Social Responsibility claims on its website including in the areas of global giving and sustainability.
This company is a partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose stated mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
This company received a grade of C- in the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics (Oct 2017), which assesses companies from the electronics industry across three impact areas: energy use, resource consumption, and chemical elimination. Of the 17 companies ranked, this company came sixth. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
California, the UK and Australia have all enacted legislation requiring companies operating within their borders to disclose their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains. Follow the link to see this company's disclosure statement.
The 2022 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 127 companies in the food and agriculture, ICT and automotive manufacturing sectors on their human rights performance. This company received a score of 28.8%. The overall average score was a disappointing 17.3% and the highest score was 50.3%.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre digital platform presents news and allegations relating to the human rights impact of over 20,000 companies. Their enhanced Company Dashboards also include financial information, key data points based on corporate policies, and scores from prominent civil society benchmarks. Follow the link and use the search function to view this company's dashboard.
Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) evaluates and ranks 14 of the world's most powerful digital platforms on their policies and practices affecting people's rights to freedom of expression and privacy. In RDR's 2022 Big Tech Scorecard, none of the digital platforms earned a passing grade. This company ranked #3/14, with a total score of 50/100.
OpenSecrets.org tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens' lives. Follow link to see this company's record of political donations, lobbying, outside spending and more.
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 56/100 in the Software category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 16 Dec 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
Criticism of Microsoft has followed various aspects of its products and business practices. Issues with ease of use, robustness, and security of the company's software are common targets for critics. Microsoft is also accused of locking vendors and consumers into their products, and of not following and complying with existing standards in its software. The company has been the subject of numerous lawsuits by several governments and other companies for unlawful monopolistic practices.

Company Details

Type:
Public company
Founded:
1975
Revenue:
143 billion USD (2020)
Employees:
163,000 (2020)
Subsidiaries:
Xbox Game Studios
Video games
Microsoft division formerly known as Microsoft Studios. Parent company to fifteen games studios, which primarily makes games for PC and Xbox. Acquired Minecraft developers Mojang in 2013 for US$2.5 billion, and ZeniMax Media in 2021 for US$7.5 billion. In Oct 2023 Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard for US$69 billion, creating the world's third largest video game company after Tencent and Sony.
Activision Blizzard Inc
Video game holding company
One of the world's largest video games companies. Activision and World of Warcraft producer Blizzard Entertainment merged in 2006, and acquired Candy Crush Saga maker King, and e-sports specialist Major League Gaming in 2015. Microsoft acquired the company for US$69 billion in Oct 2023.
ZeniMax Media Inc
Video games
Holding company that owns several gaming studios including id Software, Arkane Studios, and Bethesda Game Studios. Acquired by Microsoft in 2020.
ZeniMax Australia Pty Ltd
Publishing office
Australian office opened in 2013. Oversees sales, marketing, and distribution for all Bethesda titles in Australia and New Zealand.
LinkedIn Corporation
Professional internet network
Started in 2002, it is the world's largest professional network on the internet with over 300 million users around the world including executives from all Fortune 500 companies. Acquired by Microsoft for US$26 billion in 2016.
LinkedIn Australia Pty Ltd
Online professional network
First office in Sydney in 2010, then followed by offices in Melbourne and Perth. It had 4 million members across Australia in 2013, that is 4 out of 5 professional across the country. It provides services in recruitment, marketing and networking.
Microsoft Pty Ltd
Software distributor
Microsoft's Australian subsidiary was set up in 1993. One of Australia's most popular websites, Ninemsn is a joint venture between Microsoft and Nine Entertainment Company.

Contact Details

Address:
Redmond, Washington, USA
Website:
www.microsoft.com

Products / Brands

Xbox Game Studios
Age of Empires Strategy Games
Forza Racing Games
Gears of War Action Games
Halo Action Games
Halo Multiplayer Games
Minecraft Mobile Games
Minecraft Other Video Games
State of Decay Action-Adventure Games
Activision Blizzard
Bubble Witch Saga Mobile Games
Call of Duty Action Games
Call of Duty Multiplayer Games
Candy Crush Saga Mobile Games
Crash Bandicoot Platform Games
Crash Team Racing Racing Games
Diablo Action Games
Diablo Role-playing Games
Farm Heroes Saga Mobile Games
Guitar Hero Other Video Games
Hearthstone Other Video Games
Overwatch Action Games
Overwatch Multiplayer Games
Skylanders Platform Games
Spyro Platform Games
StarCraft Strategy Games
Tony Hawk's Sports Games
Warcraft Multiplayer Games
ZeniMax Media LinkedIn Australia
LinkedIn Social Media
Microsoft Australia
Bing Search Engines
Microsoft Software
Microsoft Surface Laptops
Microsoft Surface Desktop Computers
Microsoft Surface Tablets
Microsoft Teams Messaging
Office Software
Skype Messaging
Windows Software
Xbox Gaming Consoles