Microsoft to launch new Citizenship Initiative effort Thursday

Microsoft will be making a major announcement on Thursday, September 20th, and it's not about new devices or software for the first time we can remember. Instead, it's about how the company impacts the world for good.

Microsoft's news page reveals that the company's CEO Steve Ballmer and its Executive Vice President Brad Smith will both be participating in a streaming video event starting at 11:30 am Eastern time (8:30 am Pacific time). At the moment, all Microsoft is saying that Ballmer and Smith will "launch a new global Microsoft Citizenship initiative" during the webcast.

The company's Corporate Citizenship page lists some of the many ways that Microsoft has tried to be a force for good in the world. It includes efforts to reduce energy in its facilities, along with helping improve education access and participating in a number of non-profit efforts around the world.

The same page also goes over Microsoft's efforts to improve online and software security and how it has become more accountable in terms of using third party suppliers. Microsoft has not offered any information on if any of the subjects that will be discussed in its webcast on Thursday.

Source: Microsoft news page | Image via Microsoft

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Citizenship doesn't apply to businesses and it is perverse to think that it does - this really is a misappropriation of the term. What Microsoft seems to be referring to is corporate responsibility, which is already well established and doesn't need to be called "citizenship".

I feel like Microsoft is that bully in middle school everyone didn't like and when high school started they changed. Everyone still thinks he's a bully but he's been nice for a while. Then one day something happens and people warm up to him and people start liking him. JS

Unfortunately Microsoft is still a bully but is just a lot more subtle about it. The Windows Store in Windows 8 is as anti-competitive as anything Microsoft has tried before, while Windows RT forces the use of the Internet Explorer rendering engine (something Microsoft was fined substantially for in the past). Both are overt attempts to dramatically reshape the market and cut out competitors.

Certainly it has improved as a company in many respects but the main reason people don't consider Microsoft to be as much of a bully is because companies like Apple and Google behave much worse in many ways. It's more a case of the entire industry going downhill, rather than Microsoft climbing uphill.