Sunday, May 08, 2005

Belly of the Ballmer

I'm in Seattle, where, understandably, it very serious news that Microsoft switched teams again. The company will support gay-right legislation in Washington State next time.

CEO Steve Ballmer previously justified the company's dropping support for House Bill 1515, which lost by one vote afterwards. One would have to be naive indeed to suppose that the largest employer around didn't drive public and legislative opinion. Yet, that is Microsoft's contention.

Meanwhile in the two local dailies, many letters to the editor call MS cowardly and a few say that companies have no right having any political opinions or taking any stance on legislation. (Pause for hearty laughter.)

More to the point, the Seattle Times lead story today ran the head, Microsoft decides to back gay-right bill: Will it help? Fair question, to which legislators claimed MS didn't have influence.

From outside, it sure looks like MS is too late on this. Legislators already defeated it, surely due in part to Gates and folk dropping support. What was the downside for them? At this point, they are safe ignoring this hot coal.

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