I have been the host of the Microsoft Windows Blog here on TechRepublic for many years now, and there is one common theme expressed by members almost daily in the discussion forums, and I put this diplomatically: When it comes to business, Microsoft is ruthless to the point of being unethical or, at the very least, unfair. That is the perception I see expressed by members time and time again.
Hold on a minute
However, now there is a published list that states unequivocally that Microsoft is one of the most ethical companies on Earth. According to The Ethisphere Institute, Microsoft is one of the 145 most ethical companies, and they are joined in the Computer Software category by Adobe, Salesforce.com, Symantec, Teradata, and Wipro.
According to the website, The Ethisphere Institute is "a leading international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability."
Here is what The Ethisphere Institute says about its list:
The World's Most Ethical (WME) Companies designation recognizes companies that truly go beyond making statements about doing business "ethically" and translate those words into action. WME honorees not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, they exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today.
So if The Ethisphere Institute is to be believed, it is incorrect to continue classifying Microsoft as unethical, unfair, or an otherwise bad-acting company. It is apparently time to stop judging Microsoft by its past transgressions and to start evaluating the company on its current practices. A change in thinking that I would suggest is probably long overdue (it's not the 1990s anymore), but what do you think?
Is it time to put Microsoft's past in the past? Is it time to let bygones be bygones -- forgive and forget, etc.? Is it time to judge Microsoft by its current business practices or do you have a bone to pick with The Ethisphere Institute?
Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.