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Microsoft says it will not provide cash support to the Republican National Convention

The Redmond software giant says its position on the GOP convention hasn't changed.

Ramin Talaie

Microsoft said it will not provide cash support for the 2016 Republican National Convention, a decision it said it reached long before advocacy groups began pressuring it to withdraw sponsorship from the event.

Fred Humphries, Microsoft’s head of government affairs, said the software giant decided a year ago to provide technical support for the GOP convention instead of a cash donation. The Democratic National Convention gets similar access to its products — but the company also plans to sponsor events at the DNC.

“We’re not changing our planned activities for the conventions in 2016,” Humphries said in a blog post Friday.

The advocacy group Color of Change has been calling on Microsoft, Coca-Cola and other major corporations to withdraw sponsorship of a Trump-led GOP convention, arguing that it equates to endorsing the candidate’s charged rhetoric.

Color of Change joined with other civil rights and progressive groups Thursday in Mountain View to petition Google to “Dump Trump.” Google says it will continue with its plans to livestream the convention, which begins July 18 in Cleveland.

Humphries said Microsoft has been talking with groups about this issue, but the company is unwavering in its plans to provide similar levels of support to each party’s nominating events. This, he argues, doesn’t amount to an endorsement of either party or its nominee.

“We’ve remained steadfast and comfortable with the decisions that we previously made,” Humphries wrote. “We continue to believe that the principles that have guided us for over 15 years remain sound today. In particular, we believe that technology from Microsoft and other companies provides an important tool that helps the democratic process work better.”

Color of Change nonetheless heralded Microsoft’s decision as a victory — one that the advocacy group says represents a change from the 2012 GOP convention, when half of Microsoft’s $1.5 million donation came from direct contributions.

“Microsoft took an important step forward today by standing against Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s bigotry and declining to provide cash support for the Republican National Convention,” Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson said in a statement. “We, however, will continue to call on Microsoft and other current sponsors to also stop the promotion of their products and airing of commercials during the convention.”

Microsoft made its announcement as Trump’s arrival Friday at the California Republican Convention was greeted with boisterous protests that delayed the candidate’s speech to the GOP faithful in Burlingame.

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