The European Commission Names Microsoft as one of the Top Ten European Employers

Brussels, March 27, 2003 — The European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou, announced Microsoft as one of the ten best employers in Europe. This is the first time that the Commission and the Great Place to Work (GPW) Institute have established this prestigious ranking in Europe. GPW has evaluated and benchmarked workplaces worldwide for the last 20 years.

Microsoft’s Belgian, French, German and Irish subsidiary companies were collectively selected from more than 1,000 European firms. The criteria used to evaluate these companies were credibility/integrity, respect for employees, fairness/equality, pride, and camaraderie.

“A company which develops a strong vision, and which manages to communicate that vision clearly within its organization, can count on the powerful motivation of its personnel, said Jean-Philippe Courtois, CEO of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa. “This award pays tribute to the enthusiasm of our people and the commitment they feel to the company, and vice-versa. One becomes the ‘best employer’ only if one has the best employees.”

The European Commission selected the “Best 100 Employers” in Europe with the aim of defining a standard with regard to high quality human resource policy. The more the company and the employer practice such an HR policy, the more the organization concerned is productive and competitive, thanks to its motivated staff. These employers also focus on developing diversity within their organizations.

Good employers provide an ideal workplace where employees have confidence in their management, according to European Commission, are proud of what they do and take pleasure in working with their colleagues. A good employer therefore offers a good deal more than a proper salary or an interesting benefits package. The Top 100 brings together first and foremost organizations where employees feel good about themselves, the work they do and the company they work for.

Between March and December 2002, nearly 125,000 employees from more than 1,000 companies located in the 15 Member States of the European Union were asked to answer the same questionnaire and to take part in a survey supervised by Great Place to Work Europe.

On the basis of the answers and national rankings, the Commission and GPW selected the 100 best employers in Europe. This list is not ranked, but the Top 10 received special mention from the Commission. Microsoft along with the other Top 10 were officially recognised in a ceremony today in Brussels hosted by Commissioner Diamantopoulou.

This is the first time that a Top 100 of Europe’s best employers has been established. In the United States and some other countries, US-based Fortune Magazine publishes annual ranking of businesses.

For further information regarding the nominations, ranking and methodology, as well as for several hyperlinks to the European Commission, to Great Place to Work and to the national rankings, please visit the organisation’s website ( ).

About Microsoft Corporation

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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