- Brendan McDermid/REUTERS
Microsoft said on Friday that it is not supporting the Republican National Convention with a cash donation this year.
However, it is donating technology to the organization and will not withdraw that form of sponsorship.
As for the Democrats’ convention, Microsoft says that it is also donating technology as well as “some sponsorship of host committee activities” – that is, more direct financial support.
Earlier this month, a group called Muslim Advocates gathered 24 civil rights and faith groups to pressure Microsoft, Google and Apple to stop supporting the RNC.
Groups representing African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Arabs, women’s groups and the LGBT community signed the open letters.
They wanted Microsoft, Google and Apple “to withdraw from and decline any existing or future sponsorships, including in-kind contributions, to political party conventions where hateful and bigoted rhetoric is highlighted and supported.”
In a blog post on Friday, Microsoft VP of US governmental affairs, Fred Humphries, said that Microsoft’s decision to give tech but not cash to the RNC was done last fall, and isn’t a result of activist groups. He said Microsoft has no intention of changing its donation plans.
It’s not clear how much money Microsoft actually donated to the RNC in 2012. One widely circulated report said that Microsoft’s contributions were around $1.5 million, but half of that came from direct donations of employees rather than the corporation.
Reports by Microsoft and Open Secrets indicate that cash donations for the conventions were far lower. OpenSecrets pegs it at $30,000 to each convention, and another $30,000 apiece to each side’s campaign committee.
While Microsoft didn’t reveal how much in technology donations it is giving either side, it did say that the contribution includes Office 365, access to its cloud computing services Azure, Surface tablet/PCs and other products.
The Muslim Advocates group was pleased about the cash donation part but chastised the company for the rest, in a statement emailed to Business Insider:
“Microsoft took an important step forward today by standing against Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s bigotry and declining to provide cash support for the Republican National Convention. We, however, will continue to call on Microsoft and other current sponsors to also stop the promotion of their products and airing of commercials during the convention, and will continue to press them on in-kind donations.”
By the way, Microsoft isn’t the only one the group is targeting. It had some sharp things to say about Google:
“Tech companies like Microsoft and Google have poured millions of dollars into marketing themselves as diverse and inclusive brands, which is why we’re shocked that Google has proudly announced they intend to sponsor the Republican National Convention and align its brand with Trump’s racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic rhetoric.”