Microsoft just announced the Hololens 2 yesterday but the headset’s launch has been marred by controversy. Microsoft has accepted a $479 million contract to supply the HoloLens to the US military- something that Microsoft workers are now protesting. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella has since defended the company’s decision.
Microsoft won the military contract last year after facing competition from other augmented and virtual reality companies. The goal is to send up to 100,000 headsets to he military to help soldiers identify threats and increase chances of success on the battlefield. Microsoft employees have posted an open letter calling for the cancellation of the contract, with developers stating that they “did not sign up to develop weapons”.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, has since spoken with CNN about the contract, stating that accepting the deal was a “principled decision”. Nadella does not want to “withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy”.
He also added that Microsoft executives will continue to talk this over with employees and hear out their concerns. Still, Nadella sees this move as being part of the ‘responsibility Microsoft has as a corporate citizen’, all in the name of supporting democracy.
KitGuru Says: This is certainly a touchy subject and I can see why Microsoft employees would not want to work on military hardware. From the sounds of it though, Microsoft still wants to follow through on this, despite employee concerns. That could change in the future, so we’ll just have to wait and see.