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Microsoft's Watching You

Microsoft is working on software that tracks employee behavior -- and it is guessing employees will actually like it!

The technology, currently patented, watches employees during video conferences, on their PCs and through their smartphones. It tracks e-mail, IMs, phone calls and more. Sounds intrusive.

But Microsoft argues this type of tracking actually builds trust. The idea is to spot bad behavior and then direct it to managers for correction. If an employee sees the employer sticking up for them, trust ensues.

Is this wacky or does it make too much sense? You tell me and I'll the rest of the readers at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 11/28/2011 at 1:18 PM


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Reader Comments:

Thu, Dec 1, 2011

Who's watching big brother if they're watching us?

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 Guillermo

I had a boss stick up for me when a vendor made false allegations. And I was grateful to him for it. But it didn't take surveillance software to prove the point to him. He just trusted me and took my word for it. This software will destroy trust and create a hostile work environment. Maybe the suckups will like it but nobody else will and the work will suffer.

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 BigEye

1 of april already?

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 ibsteve2u Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Made me laugh. I could believe that stuff about "If an employee sees the employer sticking up for them", except for this is a down economy and Microsoft is also offshoring. That combination creates petty tyrants, not trust. Whoever thought it up, though...wouldn't be surprised to see them on a Tea Party Presidential ticket one day.

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 Denise

"If an employee sees the employer sticking up for them, trust ensues." That is a BIG if. And, to whom would the employer be sticking up for the employee? Granted, the company I work for is very small, so "Management" = the Owner/President, but when I worked for larger companies my direct supervisor would have reprimanded me and then passed the report on to her supervisor for further action - most likely termination (rule number 1 in the handbook was "even the APPEARANCE of impropriety is grounds for dismissal"). Add to that the fact that I do not trust Microsoft to create and successfully maintain such a nanny suite, and this article just chills me to the bone.

Mon, Nov 28, 2011

You know this is just one more step for corporate America to find reasons to trim the workforce even more, in these already tight times. Many a manager or VP will use this just to "justify" their own means, and keep their job, when they are the fat that needs to be trimmed.

Mon, Nov 28, 2011

The intent of the developers may be to build employee/employer trust but that doesn't mean the employers have the same intent when they buy it.

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 Vic

My first thought was "Really? Are they serious?" I have never seen an employer monitor computer usage for anything positive. It made for a really great followup to MS as the most hated software company.Thanks for the Monday laugh

Mon, Nov 28, 2011

Gotta Comment on this, just too funny. I thought I'd heard it all, and now this. Perfect for Dilbert, send it to him quick. This should raise MS's hate score to a perfect 100%. Read this to my son,(about to complete his CPA), took us both 10 minutes to stop LOL.

Mon, Nov 28, 2011

Big Brother Is Watching You

Mon, Nov 28, 2011

and if you read the application, it would never be used as a positive tool, just a retaliatory and punishment device by bad management and inept managers

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