Microsoft CEO defends decision to supply Hololens tech to military

The Trimble XR10 hard hat

The Trimble XR10 hard hat

Earlier this month we covered how the number of Microsoft employees protesting the US Army contract with the company offering up HoloLens technology to better our troops. On the heels of unveiling the new product, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is defending the contract that the software giant has landed with the USA military that will see it supplying augment reality hardware; a contract worth $479 million. The sum of the contract is $479,197,708.33, to the penny, and Microsoft needs to deliver prototype devices reportedly totalling 100,000 HoloLens AR headsets to complete its part of the deal.

Microsoft won the military contract a year ago after facing competition from other augmented and virtual reality companies.

They demanded that Microsoft cancel the contract, cease development of any and all weapons technology, draft a public-facing acceptable use policy clarifying that commitment, and appoint an independent external ethics review board with the power to enforce those new rules.

"We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the USA military, helping one country's government "increase lethality" using tools we built".

"We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the US Military, helping one country's government "increase lethality" using tools we built", the workers wrote in the letter.

Nadella has since responded in an interview with CNN Business (via Gamasutra).

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"We were very transparent about that decision and we'll continue to have that dialogue", he continues.

The letter from the group was published just days before Microsoft announced the HoloLens 2, an enterprise venture improving on the rather disappointing hardware of the first-gen unit.

According to previous reports, Microsoft should supply the U.S. military with some 100,000 HoloLens devices.

The Microsoft Workers 4 Good letter has now been signed by over 250 employees.

Microsoft Workers 4 Good first made an appearance at the end of January, claiming the activities of the Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC) - a group that decides which politicos will receive cash from sources such as employee donations - "was singlehandedly the topic most wanted to talk about".

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