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Nadella says Microsoft will not withdraw from its US Army hololens contract



Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella isn’t backing down in the face of an employee uproar over the company’s contract with the US Army.

In an interview with CNN Business on Monday, Nadella said: “We made a principled decision that we’re not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy. We were very transparent about that decision and we’ll continue to have that dialogue [with employees].”

Last week, more than 50 Microsoft employees released a letter to Nadella demanding that the chief exed pull out of the company’s $749 million contract with the US Army to provide HoloLens augmented-reality tech for soldiers.

“We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used,” the letter reads. “As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers.”

A Microsoft worker told Business Insider on Monday that the number of employees that have signed the letter to Nadella has reached more than 200.

Read more: A group of Microsoft employees are demanding the company ditch a US Army contract that they say makes them ‘war profiteers’

The contract — which Microsoft won over competitors like Magic Leap last November — focuses on building “a single platform that Soldiers can use to Fight, Rehearse, and Train that provides increased lethality, mobility, and situational awareness necessary to achieve overmatch against our current and future adversaries.”

The recent backlash at Microsoft is the latest in a string of protests by tech employees upset about their companies’ involvement in controversial contracts with government agencies ranging from the military to the immigration department.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been among the most outspoken about his intentions to continue to pursue government deals despite employee outcry. “If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble,” Bezos said last October.

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