U.S. taxpayers funding Microsoft campus bridge

Microsoft is getting $11 million in stimulus funds for an employee bridge, connecting two areas of the corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Is this a judicious use of our taxes?

With $20 billion in the bank, one would think that Microsoft could afford to build out its own campus. But in a sign of just how "porky" the U.S. federal stimulus bill has become, the city of Redmond, Wash., will be spending $11 million to build a bridge connecting two areas of Microsoft's Redmond campus, as Bloomberg reports.

That's right. One of the richest companies on the planet is using taxpayer money to fund a bridge that arguably benefits no one except its own employees (and visitors). Company spokesman Lou Gellos told Bloomberg that the 480-foot span "is a mobility improvement for the area as a whole" because a congested bridge nearby is not good for walking or bicycling.

Whether the use of stimulus spending toward corporate infrastructure is proper isn't a question of open source versus proprietary. It's a question of wise stewardship of taxpayer funds. Microsoft isn't short of cash. It can build its own bridge.

Yes, Microsoft will contribute roughly half of the total $36.5 million total building cost, but it seems incredible that the company isn't funding all of it, given its resources--and given that the project helps only Microsoft.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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