Microsoft has committed to building an ethical cloud, claiming its partners can take advantage of its commitments both in terms of profit and their social conscience.
During yesterday's final keynote at its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) Microsoft president Brad Smith (pictured) delivered a passionate speech about the company's ethical commitments regarding privacy, the environment, inclusivity, diversity and people with disabilities.
He stressed Microsoft's commitment to customer data privacy, highlighting recent lawsuits it has taken up against its own government in pursuit of protecting its customers.
He added that environmental issues also weigh heavily on the company's mind.
"There will come a day in the future, whether it's a decade or two from now, that Microsoft and Amazon and Google and Facebook and others will consume more electrical power than a mid-size country in Europe," he said. "We have a responsibility to protect the environment. We are taking a principled approach. We will focus our R&D on making our datacentres more efficient so they use less electricity."
He pledged that the company will use more energy from renewable sources.
"In 2016, 44 per cent of the electric we use in our datacentres comes from [renewables]," he said. "Within two years we will pass the 50 per cent threshold and early in the next decade we will pass the 60 per cent threshold and each year and every year we are not going to stop. There will be day where I will be able to say all of our energy in some way [is renewable]."
Diversity in the technology industry is a hot topic, with many big firms accused of not employing a representative workforce. At Microsoft, 73 per cent of its staff are men, and 60 per cent are white.
Smith stressed the company's view that "diversity is strength", attracting cheers from the partners in the audience.
Speaking to CRN after the keynote, Microsoft's director of partner profitability and compete Brent Combest said the company's corporate responsibility goals have a tangible impact on partners.
"I think it does matter and there are a couple of elements to it," he said. "One [is] knowing that a vendor is on your side pushing towards making cloud available to all is such an inspiring point, not just because it satisfies our human need to do good, but it also expands the market opportunity to you as well. Having the brand and the ally of Microsoft to do that is inspiring."
He added that customers gravitate towards companies that do good in society, claiming "they don't just go into business to make profit, they do it to enhance the world around them."
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