Barcelona: Even after facing backlash from company employees, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has no plans to scrap the controversial contract of supplying augmented reality (AR)-based HoloLens headset to the US military.
Under the contract, Microsoft has to provide more than 100,000 headsets that could be used for combat and training in the military.
“We made a principled decision that we’re not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy,” Nadella told CNN on Monday at the MWC 2019 in Barcelona.
Last week in a letter to the company President Brad Smith, Nadella and other top executives, workers urged the firm to junk the $479 million contract to supply technology for the military’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System, the media had reported.
“As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers. To that end, we believe that Microsoft must stop in its activities to empower the US Army’s ability to cause harm and violence,” the letter read.
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The employees said they are alarmed that their company is working to provide weapons technology to the US military, “helping one country’s government ‘increase lethality’ using tools we built”.
The workers’ coalition asked Nadella and Smith to “cease developing any and all weapons technologies, and draft a public-facing acceptable use policy clarifying this commitment.”
According to media reports, the US Army describes the project as a way to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy”.