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Microsoft: Ethics, Compliance, Financial Performance

Essay by   •  September 13, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,359 Words (6 Pages)  •  4,128 Views

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Microsoft: Ethics, Compliance, Financial Performance


In this paper our team conducts initial research to summarize the financials and the role of ethics and compliance within the corporation of Microsoft. As an initial look at these aspects of Microsoft, much of the information herein serves as a summary of information readily available to the public. The financials in specific look at the current, debt, roe, and days receivable ratios for the past two years. The intent of our research is to provide an accessible summarization and starting point for future research involving in-depth analyses.

Microsoft: Ethics, Compliance, Financial Performance

As an elite and successful company, Microsoft has developed and matured into one of the world's most prosperous businesses. Along with the financial growth of the company, ethics and compliance standards have had some early challenges. Since such encounters, Microsoft's ethics and compliance standards have evolved to make the company one of the most respected corporations by U.S. consumers. By assessing the financial environment of Microsoft's ethics and compliance, instilled organizational procedures that ensure ethical behavior are identifiable. Resulting from processes the company uses to comply with SEC regulations, and financial ratios, evaluations of Microsoft's recent financial performance reveal interesting data about the organization's financial health.

The Role of Ethics and Compliance

What makes Microsoft such a business juggernaut is the ethics and compliance system that operates within the company. The policies and procedures contained within their code of conduct are not only upheld in the financial environment but also are incorporated and practiced by the entire corporation; foreign and domestic. Microsoft's diligent efforts to maintain excellent ethical compliance is spear-headed by the company's general counsel who also acts as the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO). Leading by example, the compliance officer embodies the six values that give significance to Microsoft's code of ethics: passion for customers, technology, and partners; honesty and integrity; a readiness to accept challenges and endure; encompassing respect and consideration with others, dedicating efforts to coworker development; accepting responsibility for quality, customers commitments, results, partners, shareholders, and employees; finally, executing self-accountability, questioning, commitment to personal quality and improvement. Because of Microsoft's profound ethics and compliance standards, their internal role in shaping company success clarifies the organizational code of ethics and values that embody company existence.

Company Procedures for Ethical Behavior

Microsoft has developed many procedures for ensuring compliance within the company regarding ethical behavior. As a result of their extensive commitment to ethical behavior and adapting policies that promotes ethical behavior the company has become a leading example on how to instill ethical behavior within its walls.

In May of 2003 Microsoft published its "Standards of Business Conduct" and produced an update in April 2009. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer wrote that these standards were devised "to help you make good, informed business decisions and to act on them with integrity (, 2011)." Within this document were many categories designed to help with the company's desire to exist ethically.


Microsoft's code of ethics contains six values that help move their employees in a direction that promotes solid ethical behavior. This code helps employees develop integrity and honesty, become passionate for customers, partners and technology and always question whether their behavior, at any time, would be considered unethical (, 2011).

Compliance Officer

Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith has also the role of the company's head compliance officer (, 2011). One of his job descriptions within the firm is to ensure that all employees are following the company's Code of Ethics.


To help assist Mr. Smith in his endeavors a telephone number has been given to each employee in the hopes that they will report any infraction of the code of ethics. Microsoft has also informed employees that they invite all employees to directly contact the Office of Legal Compliance if needed (, 2011).

Partner Conduct

Microsoft has also released a Code of Conduct specifically directed towards it partners. This policy helps protect



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