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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

Topic: diversity

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February 12, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Minority-owned firms handled 4% of Microsoft’s record bond sale

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, on a campaign to spotlight the lack of diversity in the technology industry, praised Microsoft this week after the company included minority-owned banks its largest-ever bond sale.

“Microsoft is making a major statement,” Jackson said on Monday after Microsoft raised its heap of cash.

How much of that cash did Microsoft put behind its statement? The company told us in a securities filing Wednesday.

Microsoft included four minority-owned firms — CastleOak Securities, Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Williams Capital Group and Loop Capital Markets — among the 14 banks and brokers charged with selling its bonds. The four together sold $422 million, or just under 4 percent, of the $10.75 billion in bonds Microsoft ended up selling on Monday.

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Comments | More in Financial | Topics: bonds, diversity, microsoft

January 2, 2015 at 4:02 PM

Microsoft’s U.S. workforce 47% white males, diversity data show

Microsoft has joined the ranks of technology companies releasing more-detailed diversity data.

The latest takeaway lines up with previous impressions: Microsoft’s employees are predominantly white and male.

Non-Hispanic white males make up 47% of Microsoft’s U.S. workforce, above the 31% share Census data says the group accounts for in the country as a whole.

Diversity has been something of a black eye for the technology industry, with companies from Microsoft to Google and Twitter reporting workforce demographics that don’t closely mirror the makeup of their customers or society at large. Companies have taken particular criticism for a lack of women in leadership roles, and black and Hispanic headcounts that rarely stray from the low single digits.

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella pledged at the company’s shareholders’ meeting last month to release the company’s EEO-1 report, the diversity survey companies are required to report to the federal government. Disclosing the data was among the slate of requests the Rev. Jesse Jackson made during the civil rights leader’s recent tour through the Northwest to promote a more diverse technology industry workforce.

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Comments | More in Employees | Topics: diversity, microsoft, satya nadella

December 2, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Jesse Jackson sees progress in Microsoft’s diversity efforts

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has some harsh criticism for Microsoft and other the rest of the white- and male-dominated U.S. technology industry.

The civil rights activist thinks Microsoft at least is on the right track, though. Chief Executive Satya Nadella and other Microsoft executives sat down with Jackson on Monday. Here’s Jackson’s take on their meeting, in an interview with The Seattle Times:

We sat down and had a very good meeting. I think Microsoft sees their future growth is in inclusion.

One sees in Microsoft a much bigger willingness and effort to move toward some plan. I think they get it.

We’re going to the next step. We’re going from ‘here’s how bad we are’ to planning for goals, targets and timetables.

Jackson plans to speak at Microsoft’s shareholders meeting tomorrow at the invitation of the company. If his comments today are any indication, the discussion could be a shade less contentious than a 10-minute back and forth with Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman at that company’s investor gathering in March.

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: diversity, jesse jackson, microsoft