Microsoft Fail: Computer company criticizes Heartland but won't withhold future support

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Microsoft is finally taking a clearer position denouncing the Heartland Institute's irresponsible position on climate science, but the computer megacorp still won't shut the door on providing Heartland with free software in the future.

In the wake of Heartland's highly offensive advertising campaign, in which Heartland said, flatly, “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists; they are murderers, tyrants and madmen,” Microsoft''s Director of Corporate Citizenship Steve Lippman distanced his company from the Heartland position:

“The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign.”

But he went on with this unconvincing dodge:

“Heartland did participate in our global software donation program in 2010, as did thousands of other nonprofit organizations.  It’s important to point out that hundreds of environmental and conservation groups also took advantage of the same program, and received over $13 million in free software to pursue their missions.”

And Lippman concludes with:

“Again, our software donation program does not support or endorse any particular nonprofit or any particular policy views - it supports giving all nonprofits in the world access to free software.”

So, by that comment, Microsoft intends to take no responsibility for its past support and to promise no judgment whatever in extending future in-kind funding or gifts. Microsoft's only standard in offering support is that applicants NOT make a profit. (Al Qaeda might want to get their free software request in with the next batch.)

What's called for here is a simple statement saying that Microsoft will not give Heartland free goods, services or cash in the future. Anything less suggests that the company has no real issue with Heartland's “inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign” - or any of the other irresponsible and disingenuous programs for which Heartland has become famous.

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Well at least Microsoft came out with that statement in plain english saying they oppose the climate change stance of Heartland.

And as far as them donating software to Heartland. I suspect that is more about what is good for Microsoft than anything else. They want to remain the dominant operating system and if they have to throw in some free OEM’s to maintain that dominance, they will.

“(Al Qaeda might want to get their free software request in with the next batch.)

Source: Desmogblog (”

You are probabaly right. I don’t think they care too much where it goes, as long as people are using it.


another reason not to buy anything from that company.

If another reason was actually required.

“Don’t buy anything from Micro$oft, choose Linux.”

I’m sure we have all had that fantasy, but it’s a little easier said than done. Microsoft has almost 90% of the market share. Linux doesn’t even have 2%. 

For friends who use a little initiative and don’t mind spending a few mins looking things up, if it means free, Ive put them onto Ubuntu, open office, wine. I have it at home for the whole family, as well as a mac for my wife and a pc.

It’s pointless teaching my kids only Mac, or only Linux, when they use PC at school. They know the basics on all three now.


… remember who suckered Koch into funding the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature Project?

Bill is in fact active in fighting climate change in his own selfish capitalist way.

(So of course.. the right wing is attacking him if you read through the comments on that ted talk.)

Its not hard to imagine why Bill Gates is confronting climate change since all the money he’s dumping into the third world will amount to nothing if we let climate change run rampant.  Also note that Bill has field workers galore in the third world.  So he has an inkling of what the apparent damage is so far (probably not much so far).

His old chief of technology has worked on geo engineering solutions to climate change.  He’s also funded a Calgary professor (now at Harvard) to solve climate change.

I don’t think we can label Bill Gates\Microsoft as some sort of enemy.

Bill Gates is a complicated person, and all the time I am cursing Word for trying to tell me how to write, I am remembering that he has also chosen to give back.  The Koch brothers should take a page from his book.

FUD  Fear Uncertainty and Doubt

That is how Microsoft fought Linux.  And you have to admit that it is how the Koch’s fight climate change.

The Heartland Institute is the product of the Koch Brothers, Barry Seid, & other self-serving libertarian billionaires.

Foundation funders

Media Transparency lists Heartland as having received grants from a range of foundations between 1986 and 2009. Of these foundations, by far the largest donor has been the foundation of Chicago industrialist Barre Seid[41], maker of Tripp Lite surge protectors.

  • Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $1,037,977
  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $648,000
  • Exxon Mobil $531,500
  • Walton Family Foundation $400,000
  • Sarah Scaife Foundation $325,000
  • Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust $190,500
  • Jaquelin Hume Foundation $166,000
  • Rodney Fund $135,000
  • JM Foundation $82,000
  • Castle Rock Foundation $70,000
  • Roe Foundation $41,500
  • John M. Olin Foundation $40,000
  • Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $40,000
  • Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $37,578
  • Armstrong Foundation $30,000
  • Hickory Foundation $13,000
  • Carthage Foundation $10,000

Exxon funding

Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets website lists Heartland as having received $676,500 (unadjusted for inflation) from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2006.[42] (As mentioned above, Heartland insist that Exxon has not contributed to the group since 2006.)[43]

Exxon contributions include:

  • $30,000 in 1998;
  • $115,000 in 2000;
  • $90,000 in 2001;
  • $15,000 in 2002;
  • $85,000 for General Operating Support and $7,500 for their 19th Anniversary Benefit Dinner in 2003;
  • $85,000 for General Operating Support and $15,000 for Climate Change Efforts in 2004; and
  • $119,000 in 2005; and
  • $115,000 in 2006.

While I don’t have any warm feelings for the Borg (I’ve been using Linux exclusively for over a decade, and contributed significantly to free software replacing Microsoft offerings), I must say that I understand their viewpoint on this. Currently they provide their software free of charge to all organizations that the IRS considers charities. Simple. Should they really be setting up their own parallel database of deserving vs. undeserving charities? And by what rules? Figuring this all out is hardly their core business.

No, it’s the IRS that should get their act together, and throw out charities that obviously aren’t. Keeping fingers crossed.

It isn’t up to MSFT to decide what is a non-profit charity and what is a lobbying organization.

It’s the IRS

Heartland should pay taxes and those who donate to it should pay taxes if it obviously lobbies.

I’m outraged that the shoddy lies it fosters are considered “good works”.

re: “Should they really be setting up their own parallel database of deserving vs. undeserving charities? And by what rules? Figuring this all out is hardly their core business.”

Yes, like any responsible corporate entity, Microsoft & its management have the foremost social responsibility to determine who & what so-called “non-profits” they donate money or resources to. Last we heard, Al Qaida was still a non-profit.

And, no, its not that difficult to determine that the Heartland Institute is a PR firm hired to lie & deceive the public for the benefit of the tobacco & fossil fuel industries at the health & welfare expense of the general public.

Contrary to John Bircher libertarian propaganda, it is the business of all corporations to be responsible corporate citizens.

And it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors & CEO’s of all public corporations to ensure that the actions of the corporation – including the funding of for-profits & non-profits – are for the public good, not for the public harm.

Corporate funders are bailing the Heartland name-brand like rats a sinking ship, including AT&T, GM, Microsoft, Diageo, ABIR & XL Group, & now State Farm.

We can all can put a fire under the rest by writing letters to their CEO’s that we are switching to their competitors because of their support for Heartland’s anti-science antics, & sharing our sentiment with citizens at the checkout stand & customer service.

Many of these bad actors are especially vulnerable to consumer action – Anheuser-Busch, Comcast, PepsiCo, & Time-Warner.  We all make choices that affect our lives & our children’s future.

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