Employees demand Microsoft end HoloLens contract with US Army

'As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers'
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A group of Microsoft employees are demanding the company sever a contract with the United States Army that would put the HoloLens AR headset on the battlefield.

Last year the company signed a $479 million contract with the US Army to provide headsets that could be used in training and combat. Now employees have come forward with a letter to CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith, titled "HoloLens for good, not war", in which they demand that the project be cancelled.

Read this: What we know about Microsoft HoloLens 2

The letter, signed by "a global coalition" of Microsoft employees (which you can read in full here), requests that Microsoft cut the contract and "cease developing any and all weapons technologies". It also requests the company draft a "public-facing acceptable use policy" and appoint an external ethics board to police said policy.

"While the company has previously licensed tech to the US Military, it has never crossed the line into weapons development," reads the letter. "With this contract, it does".

Microsoft hasn't made any public comment of worth just yet, and a company source told Wareable that execs haven't yet responded to the letter internally. A source also said that the timing ahead of Microsoft's MWC event was intentional.

The company is set to reveal its next HoloLens headset, which we can assume will be used in this partnership with the US Army.

The letter, which has now been signed by more than 50 employees, directly quotes the contact's objective, which is to create "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 coalition added: "As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers."

Employees demand Microsoft end HoloLens contract with US Army


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Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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