Silicon Valley has taken the lead in the world’s collective resistance to Donald Trump and his administration. With the notable exception of Peter Thiel, tech companies have consistently been against the policies that have come out of Washington the past two weeks. One company and CEO has been more vocal than the others. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, began speaking out as soon as Trump started tweeting lies about corporations and jobs.
“We’re a U.S.-based company that operates worldwide and our predominant employment is in the United States,” Nadella told CNNTech at the DLD tech conference in Munich on Monday. “We’ve already created a tremendous amount of high-paying jobs in the U.S.”
The tech company employs more than 113,000 people worldwide, more than 64,000 of whom are in the United States, mainly in Washington state, according to Microsoft.
“If anything, we’ll double down on what we’ve always done, which is be a U.S. company that operates in the United States very responsibly, but also being a multinational company that contributes into every country that we work in.” (CNN)
Microsoft responded almost immediately to Friday’s executive order banning immigrants and those with valid visas. Currently, the company has seventy-six employees affected. Nadella and President Brad Smith sent out an email the next day to employees, then made it public on LinkedIn. They have a legal team in place to help not only the employees with immediate needs, but also any employees or family members who are or may be affected. The top brass have made their views incredibly clear:
“We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people’s freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings,” Smith wrote to employees.
“As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic,” Nadella wrote in preface to the e-mail. (BI)
Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, requested in an open letter this week the Trump administration allow an exemption for business travelers or “responsible known travelers with pressing needs,” sponsored by American companies or universities. This would allow doctors, students, businesspeople, to travel without having to worry about being denied reentry when they travel for less than two weeks on business or family emergency reasons.
Smith was clear this should not be considered a fix but rather a temporary workaround for the executive order. In addition to its 76 affected employees, Microsoft has also found 41 dependents who are currently affected by the ban.
Also this week, Microsoft gave the Washington State Attorney General information about the executive order’s impact on its company. In addition, they have offered to testify and lend any additional support that might be necessary. The AG is suing the administration in federal court to stop the order that restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries. (NDTV)
Hopefully the pressure from big businesses, in addition to the protests, will have a positive impact on the policy.