As the call for regulating and even dismantling some of the U.S. technology giants grows louder, Microsoft President Brad Smith has written a book about his company’s efforts to tackle privacy, cybercrime, AI and other digital challenges.
The book, called “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age,” addresses the potential and the threats posed by digital technologies, according to a press release issued today.
“Silicon Valley has recently reached an inflection point. We have moved from a world in which tech companies operated with laissez-faire abandon to one in which they must work together with governments and accept greater responsibility for the future,” states the release from publisher Penguin Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
“While in no way a self-glorifying ‘Microsoft memoir,’ the book pulls back the curtain on some of the company’s most crucial recent decision points,” reads the release, “as it strives to protect the promise of technology against the very real threats it presents.”
In recent years, Microsoft has shaped itself into something of an ethical leader in the sector, calling for better regulations to protect the public. Led by CEO Satya Nadella and Smith, it has partnered with other tech companies and governments internationally for rules and pacts that safeguard consumers.
But as GeekWire recently reported, the Redmond, Wash.-based company stands to enjoy a competitive advantage in a world with stricter tech regulations.
Competitors including Google and Facebook as well as countless startups have business models built on advertising for revenue, which is linked to collecting and capitalizing on the personal data of its users. These practices are a focus of recent attacks by elected officials and others. Microsoft and Apple, which has also lobbied for better oversight, rely less on ads and more on product sales and cloud services.
“Part of what Microsoft is doing is they see the weakness of their peers and they see an opportunity to take advantage of it,” said David Yoffie, a Harvard Business School professor, in a GeekWire interview. “So some of this is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and to demonstrate that they can take the high moral ground.”
Smith joined Microsoft in 1993 and also acts as its chief legal officer. The book, his first, will be available Sept. 10, 2019 and was written with Microsoft Director of Communications and External Relations Carol Ann Browne. Browne and Smith have also collaborated on the company’s “Today in Technology” blog series.
Nadella released his own book, ‘Hit Refresh,’ in September 2017, giving readers a look inside Microsoft’s revival.