In early June, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) acquired the internet’s largest source code repository for $7.5 billion. According to a letter written by Github coders, many programmers were wary of this acquisition due to Microsoft’s hostile position to open source, which caused many to leave the site upon the acquisition and others deciding to give the company a chance.
Earlier this year Microsoft announced that it was working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to "deliver such services as cloud-based identity and access" in order to "help employees make more informed decisions faster" and "utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification."
After the recent immigration crisis, over 300 people have currently signed the lease threatening to leave Github, saying “we will simply take our projects elsewhere,” if Microsoft does not end relations with ICE, demonstrating their condemnation of ICE separating children from families at the US-Mexico border.
The GitHub community letter to Microsoft showed clear disapproval of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy for immigrants saying, “As members of the open source community and free software movement who embrace values of freedom, liberty, openness, sharing, mutual aid, and general human kindness, we are horrified by and strongly object to the Trump administration's policies of detainment, denaturalization, deportation, and family separation as carried out by ICE.”
Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, attempted to lessen the significance of the company’s work with ICE in an email to all Microsoft employees. “I want to be clear,” he wrote, “Microsoft is not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border.”
Microsoft employees have also shown their disapproval with the company’s decision to enter into a deal with ICE. On Tuesday, over 100 employees signed a letter asking Microsoft to cancel the $19.4 million contract with ICE. “We believe that Microsoft must take an ethical stand, putting children and families above profits,” they wrote.