Our Commitment to Compliance


Posted by John Frank
Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government is reviewing allegations that Microsoft business partners in three countries may have engaged in illegal activity, and if they did, whether Microsoft played any role in these alleged incidents.

We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously, and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries. Like other large companies with operations around the world, we sometimes receive allegations about potential misconduct by employees or business partners, and we investigate them fully, regardless of the source. We also invest heavily in proactive training, compliance systems, monitoring and audits to ensure our business operations around the world meet the highest legal and ethical standards.

The matters raised in the Wall Street Journal are important, and it is appropriate that both Microsoft and the government review them. It is also important to remember that it is not unusual for such reviews to find that an allegation was without merit. (The WSJ reported earlier this week that an allegation has been made against the WSJ itself, and that, after a thorough investigation, its lawyers have been unable to determine that there was any wrongdoing).

We cannot comment about on-going inquiries, but we would like to share some perspective on our approach to compliance.

We are a global company with operations in 112 countries, nearly 98,000 employees and 640,000 business partners. We’re proud of the role we play in bringing technology to businesses, governments, non-profits and consumers around the world and the economic impact we have in local communities.

As our company has grown and expanded around the world, one of the things that has been constant has been our commitment to the highest legal and ethical standards wherever we do business. 

Compliance is the job of every employee at the company, but we also have a group of professionals focused directly on ensuring compliance. We have more than 50 people whose primary role is investigating potential breaches of company policy, and an additional 120 people whose primary role is compliance. In addition, we sometimes retain outside law firms to conduct or assist with investigations. This is a reflection of the size and complexity of our business and the seriousness with which we take meeting our obligations.

We also invest in proactive measures including annual training programs for every employee, regular internal audits and multiple levels of approval for contracting and expenditure. 

In a company of our size, allegations of this nature will be made from time to time. It is also possible there will sometimes be individual employees or business partners who violate our policies and break the law. In a community of 98,000 people and 640,000 partners, it isn’t possible to say there will never be wrongdoing. Our responsibility is to take steps to train our employees, and to build systems to prevent and detect violations, and when we receive allegations, to investigate them fully and take appropriate action. We take that responsibility seriously.

Comments (10)

  1. Anonymous says:

    My ok good.

  2. Anonymous says:

    @Sales Rep Romania. We would like to learn as much as we can about the concerns you have raised so that we may appropriately review them. If you are a Microsoft employee, we trust that you are aware of the various means available to discuss or explain your concerns, including confidentially (to the extent permitted by law). I have listed some of our reporting and escalation tools below; I have also provided my contact information if you would like to contact me directly. We are also willing to explore other options with you to allow further dialogue to occur, including putting you or a representative for you in contact with our outside counsel (his contact information is below). We look forward to hearing back from you soon.  

    Thank you.

    Greg Vamos

    Assistant General Counsel

    Office of Legal Compliance

    Legal and Corporate Affairs Department

    Microsoft Corporation

    One Microsoft Way

    Redmond, WA 98052

    T: +1 425 703 2716

    gvamos@microsoft.com

    Outside Counsel:

    • Darryl S. Lew

    White & Case LLP

    701 Thirteenth Street, NW

    Washington DC 20005-3807

    dlew@whitecase.com

    T: + 1 202 626 3674

    F: + 1 202 639 9355

    Other Resources:

    • The Business Conduct Line at 1 (877) 320-MSFT (6738). If you are calling from outside the United States, you may make a collect call to the Business Conduct Line by accessing an international operator and asking to place a collect call to +1 (704) 540-0139. This phone line is operated by an external third-party vendor that has trained professionals to take calls, in confidence, and report concerns to the Microsoft Director of Compliance for appropriate action.

    • The Microsoft Integrity Website, which allows for concerns to be submitted anonymously (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/compliance/buscond/integrity.aspx).

    • The Business Conduct and Compliance <buscond@microsoft.com> and Anti-Corruption <anticpt@microsoft.com> aliases, which are internal email addresses for reporting compliance concerns.

    • Communications by mail (to the Director of Compliance at Microsoft Corporation, Legal and Corporate Affairs, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052) or by fax (to (425) 708-7177).

  3. spm says:

    Hmmm…..it certainly is getting close to April's Fools Day.

  4. cc young says:

    "As our company has grown and expanded around the world, one of the things that has been constant has been our commitment to the highest legal and ethical standards wherever we do business."

    rofl

  5. Bigal says:

    What a load of rubbish.

    What about ISO and OOXML?

    The stuffing of many of the national bodies,

    The Microsoft executive, Doug Mahuhh, posing as Vice President of IASA Malaysia,

    Ballot rigging,

    Buying of those massive ISO voting bodies like Cote D'Ivory…

    The list goes on.

    Get real Microsoft

  6. Sales Rep Romania says:

    I work in Microsoft Sales Romania. This is such a hypocrisy!!! “Do whatever you have to do to win this contract!!” This is what our managers told us in every occasion, especially with government contracts and the oil companies. And now they pretend they have some sort of values? This makes me sick. It was not about kickbacks but, rather, about serious bribes of 100s of thousand of euros funneled via subcontractors. Just investigate some of the subcontracts where Microsoft won (as a front – or “paravan” as we called it in Romanian) so we get market share expansion, but with no profit as we gave the contract to our “friend” subcontractors that, otherwise, could never have won those contracts (because they didn't have enough credentials – credentials which, BTW, are typically rigged in order to match unique features of Microsoft whether those are relevant or not). Then, in exchange for the "service", they were giving us kickbacks, out of which we give back to the government/oil industry via phantom consulting contracts. Bleah… IMO, all this is all right – just, please, and I mean, by God, please, don't act scandalized and surprised all of the sudden. It insults our intelligence.

  7. Sales Rep Singapore says:

    @Sales Rep Romania: Hey Idiot! You sound like a willing participant. The choice of being ethical or unethical is yours. The choice of blowing the whistle on your managers is yours. That bloody mouth that you shoot off and the fingers that type are yours. Your bonus is yours and those feet that can quit and walk up to other companies are also yours. Microsoft, like any other organization in the world is made up of people (and apparently snivelling toads such as you) and is accountable for corrupt behaviour. To generalize and say that the whole company is corrupt is unfair.

  8. Imperfect but still trying says:

    No company can claim to be free of fools, but Microsoft can certainly prove consistent diligence in weeding them out. The avenues to seek redress are well-publicized and open to those who choose not to seek cheap and temporary satisfaction from an anonymous spiteful rant.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from Microsoft probed over alleged foreign bribery | Coffee Talk Shop…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from SEC, DoJ investigate foreign bribery claims against Microsoft | BaciNews