Now there are many people out there who don't like Microsoft, for a variety of different reasons, which I'm not going to go into here - after all, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but, no matter how positive or negative your opinion is, there is no denying that Microsoft, as a company, has given a hell of alot to try to improve people's lives all over the world.  In this case, I'm talking about the $2.5 billion that we, as employees, and as a company, have given to charities since 1983.

"The $2.5 billion total, equal to less than 1 percent of the company's sales during the past decade, includes software and other in-kind contributions, employee donations and company matching funds. The total does not include donations made through private foundations, such as the $30.1 billion Gates has endowed to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation"

I have a some friends, Steve Woonton, Mark Deakin & Steve Marsh to name but a few, who have taken time out of their personal lives to do something great for charity.  Steve ran the London Marathon, and both Marshy and Deaks took part, and completed, the London to Brighton bikeride.  I know this for a fact, because Marshy was walking funny for most of the week after.  Anyway, my point, they tried to raise as much money, through friends and family, colleagues, and others, for charity, knowing full well, that whatever they would raise, Microsoft, as a company, would match it.  This display of citizenship, and commitment to making people's lives better, not just through software, is what makes me proud to work where I do.

Sure, other companies may offer similar charitable donations, but $2.5 Billion?  I don't think so.  You may not like Microsoft, but you have to admit, we care.

Read the full details over in the Seattle Times.  Read more about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.