Of Microsoft and measles

Tech world titan Microsoft attracts plenty of slings and arrows, . But Friday, the company suffered an unfair potshot about its offshore operations.

A posting on popular techie discussion forum Slashdot implied that the company has infected workers with measles as a result of offshoring.

"It appears that a Microsoft worker returning from overseas brought back a case of Measles with them. In fact, they had been back, working, and spreading the disease at Microsoft and other places in Redmond for at least four days prior to being discovered," the posting stated. "Somehow I do not think that Microsoft included in their cost-benefit analysis of offshoring the potential wide-spread infection of their company. Perhaps they should include that risk in the future."

It's true that a Microsoft worker got infected with measles while attending a conference overseas in early August, a company representative said. And for four days last week, the person may have exposed co-workers to the disease at the company's Redmond, Wash., campus, according to the Public Health office of Seattle & King County.

But the country in which the employee was traveling when he or she contracted the disease was hardly a hotbed of low-wage offshoring activity, like India or China. Instead, it was the high-wage nation of France, according to the Microsoft representative.

The Microsoft representative declined to comment on the slight from Slashdot, which is an online hangout for devotees of the Windows-rival Linux operating system and owned by Open Source Technology Group. Instead, the representative said in a statement that "Microsoft is always concerned about the health and welfare of its employees which is why they moved quickly in coordination with Public Health to advise employees of a single case of measles having been reported."

Microsoft may have taken the high road in this measles matter, but at least one Slashdot reader was sickened by the original posting:

"I hate microsoft with a passion," the person wrote in a response. "...and even *I* can see that this is a bull---- article, a beatup of ridiculous proportions. Stupidest. Slashdot. Article. Ever."


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