Microsoft Makes 'Most Ethical Companies' List

Dennis Faas's picture

To the surprise of many, Microsoft finished well in a recent World's Most Ethical Companies award list, recently unveiled by the Ethisphere Institute.

Ethisphere is a think tank whose mandate is to improve standards for business ethics. It looked at 110 different companies, some being nominated by the Institute and others applying for nomination. A number of the firms included in the list are from the software industry, including Adobe, Microsoft, Symantec, Teradata Corp and

Hitachi Data Systems was a winner in the computer hardware category, with other notable mentions including Xerox and T-Mobile. (Source:

Apple, Google, Facebook Missing from List

So, how did Microsoft do? There isn't any form of ranking, per se, so it's merely the fact that Microsoft made the list that is grabbing attention. So too is the fact that industry rivals Apple, Google and Facebook were all missing.

Ethisphere didn't specify why Microsoft made the list, but experts speculate that it has something to do with the Redmond-based firm's "corporate citizenship" initiative in recent years that includes heavy donations to non-profit organizations, investment in various economic sectors, and widespread growth in its internal reporting procedures.

Critics Not Pleased Microsoft Makes List

Critics of the World's Most Ethical Companies award list say Microsoft should have been penalized for its 2010 decision to continue operating in China while abiding by that country's strict censorship laws. (Source:

As for reasons behind the omission of Google, Apple and Facebook, there are several possible explanations.

Google has faced legal struggles in the last five years (an automatic disqualifier), while Facebook is always under scrutiny because of privacy concerns. Apple's MIA (missing in action) status may be due to its stranglehold on the smartphone and tablet markets, though it's hard to fault the company for doing extraordinarily well in business.

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