04.15.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Microsoft Enabling® Slavery™ and Original Xbox Live Dies

Posted in Asia, Hardware, Microsoft at 10:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sweatshop in Chicago

Summary: Microsoft participates (although liability gets passed) in child labour and modern sweatshops; Live service for Xbox officially dies

LAST MONTH Microsoft was accused by the US Senate of “enabling tyranny” [1, 2]. The Senate was referring to Microsoft’s engagement with the Chinese regime. It is now found out that Microsoft contracts sweatshops (wage slavery) in China, very much like Apple. This problem is not specific to Microsoft, but in many ways Microsoft is worse than others.

Microsoft Emil has come up with some PR quoting Microsoft employees. From his piece of “damage control” we have:

The report says that the workers have virtually no rights, every single labor law in China is violated, and codes of conduct like those of Microsoft and HP have zero impact. Over the past three years, photographs showing exhausted teenaged workers have been smuggled out of the KYE factory, along with worker interviews and accounts. Smuggling was necessary because factory management prohibits anyone, including clients like Microsoft, from taking pictures inside the factory or in the workers’ primitive and dirty dorm rooms.

KYE recruits hundreds of “work study students” as young as 16 or 17 years old (in 2007 and 2008, dozens of them were reported to be just 14 or 15). Management likes the high school students since they are easy to discipline and control. For the same reason, KYE prefers to hire women 18 to 25 years of age, who are often sexually harassed by security guards, according to NLC.

Apple is part of a similar problem, as citations we shared last month ought to have shown. Some of these factories manufacture Microsoft hardware, such as the highly-defective Xbox 360 which in reality continues to descend to oblivion. Xbox too loses its Live service, effective today.

More pointedly, the original Xbox Live service is, as of today (April 15) no more, after Redmond-based Microsoft officially yanked the gameplay rug out from beneath faithful Xbox owners at midnight of last night.

“On April 15 we will discontinue the Xbox LIVE service for original Xbox consoles and games, including Xbox v1 games playable on Xbox 360 and Xbox Originals,” outlined Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten in a February announcement.

Thanks to Ryan for pointing this out. He used to own an Xbox 360, but after about 5 units of Xbox 360 went defective for him he had abandoned this console altogether.

“A key lesson from Nature is that we should never forget that diversity is mandatory to permit adaptation to a changing environment. To insure the continuity of technological development we need vigorous competition, preferably by totally different approaches. The Microsoft model, while having clear economic advantages, contains the temptation to engage in heavy handed copying and then snuffing out the competition. Not pleasant. And certainly not fair. But, probably legal, provided you have hired enough high priced lawyers to define reality in its most favorable light. My concern is that this over-concentrated, single, universal approach lacks the very long-term diversity necessary for the adaptive evolution necessary in the longer range interest of society.”

Digital packet-switching inventor Paul Baran

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