The Global View

Is Microsoft leading the green march?

steve ballmerGreenbang has for a long time wondered why Microsoft isn’t putting more effort into climate change reduction.

We’ve seen press releases that claim “Windows Vista can cut carbon footprints”, despite the fact it runs on chips that require more power. But really this approach is about selling more ‘great’ products to people rather than using the company’s massive oomph to innovate in new ways.

Virtualistion of servers, routers and tin boxes is a step in the right direction, but it all seems a bit narrow-minded to Greenbang.

Perhaps our expectations of tech companies are too high. But to us, an economic giant such as Microsoft, selling just platforms and operating systems without looking at the bigger green picture feels very 1990s. In fact it feels like a bit of waste…

James Governor of Greenmonk has put a compelling argument together on this. He says there are some new opportunities for Microsoft…

He says:

“And yet… shouldn’t a company that prides itself on the long view be more, rather than less, obsessed with carbon emissions,efficiency and maybe even the future of the planet? Virtualisation and greener data centers make great bed-fellows, as vendors such as Cassatt are doing a great job of articulating, and with that in mind some opportunistic marketing and development would make sense. Microsoft should go and talk to US energy and utility companies and ask about bills and rebates for customers that run more effective IT operations. It could startwith PG&E, which actively recommends customers virtualise their data centers through rebates and a campaign called wecandothis.

One of the refreshing things about Microsoft is the dorkness of much of its market conversation. It tends to avoid the kind of business process hand-waving most major vendors prefer. At Microsoft there is a genuine belief that if you provide great tools to technical people they can do great work. Their pitch is to practitioners rather than CIOs. In my experience though practitioners are just as worried about the future of the planet as any of their their pointy-haired bosses, if not more so. It would be fantastic to see Microsoft marketing green from the roots up.

I don’t see Microsoft leading the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and related green debates. It’s about time it did.”