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11.23.11

Sex Scandals at Microsoft UK and Microsoft Internationally

Posted in Microsoft at 12:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft and its employees now think it is indeed the Master of the Universe.”

Stewart Alsop, Fortune

Summary: Stories from Microsoft shed light on a cultural embarrassment

SOME months ago we wrote about toxic culture inside the toxic company. There is a new batch of reports that put together some interesting observations. For instance:

Anyone who thought Microsoft was full of straight-laced computer geeks was wrong. Over the summer, a £10m High Court battle raised the curtain on allegations of a culture of lewd behaviour, heavy drinking and sexism at its UK division, entirely at odds with its blue chip corporate image.

Claims ranged from senior managers making sexual advances towards their colleagues; female executives having “catfights” for being too “bubbly”; and unlimited vodka served on ice sculptures to drunken executives as they partied in a “throbbing” mass. It all sounds a bit – well – 1980s.

Many will argue that this sort of behaviour is not unusual at an office party, especially among sales staff, often driven by a “work hard, play hard” ethic.

But what was striking about the alleged behaviour at Microsoft was the number of senior executives involved.

The High Court lawsuit was brought by Simon Negus, once one of its most senior directors in Britain, who was sacked for lying amid claims that he kissed a colleague, Toni Knowlson, at one of the company’s annual “Global Microsoft Exchange” parties in Atlanta. He was also accused of sexually harassing a string of other women.

Quoting some more key bits, “sexual advances that one married director made towards Emma Cloney, a well-respected businesswoman, so rattled her that she ended up fleeing a party under “protection”.

“Drinking to excess and loutish behaviour was commonplace, along with wrecking hotel rooms and throwing food around restaurants – always on expenses.”

It’s not just in the UK. “More recently, in Texas, a new legal row over sexual harassment has alleged that a very senior executive in the US told colleagues he had “zero pity” for the victims of the Japanese tsunami, and would like to “push them right under the bus and create another”.”

And on we go: “We work on the basis that everything is a zero sum game – I win, you lose.”

“Microsoft is a bunch of narcissistic thugs, who run the company like gangsters,” Homer claims. “I’m shocked and amazed,” he adds sarcastically.

Also from the article: “Claims ranged from senior managers making sexual advances towards their colleagues; female executives having “catfights” for being too “bubbly”; and unlimited vodka served on ice sculptures to drunken executives as they partied in a “throbbing” mass.”

This is not just gossip because it helps establish a connection between people who run an unethical company and have a dubious lifestyle, too.

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2 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    November 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Gravatar

    And yet you will not say a word against Stallman’s desire to have completely uncensored porn made available in public schools … and his desire to dishonestly and repulsively relabel it as “educational material”.

  2. XFaCE said,

    November 25, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Gravatar

    Let’s hope the shareholders take note of this and follow suit. There are firms that measure corporate responsibility, and target this information towards concerned shareholders. These scandals will certainly worsen (or further worsen as these are certainly not the first scandals) Microsoft’s position on those reports.

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