What you need to know
- Microsoft will pay $26 million as part of a settlement involving a Hungarian kickback scheme.
- Microsoft didn't admit or deny wrongdoing.
- Microsoft employees sold software at discounts to resellers, and then the software was sold to the Hungarian government at a higher price.
Microsoft will pay $26 million as part of a settlement involving a kickback scheme in Hungary. Microsoft did not admit or deny wrongdoing, but the President and Chief Legal Officer at Microsoft, Brad Smith, said that the claims "involved employee misconduct that was completely unacceptable" as reported by the Washington Post.
It's claimed that Microsoft violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Several employees at Microsoft sold software to resellers at discounts, and then the same software was sold to the Hungarian government for higher prices. This happened from 2013 to 2015. When this story initially broke, Federal investigators probed if the finances earned from the scheme were used to pay bribes and kickbacks to government officials. Four Microsoft employees were fired as a result of Microsoft's own probe at the time and Microsoft also ended relationships with four partner companies in the country.
Microsoft's settlement is with both the Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission. Microsoft's Hungarian subsidiary paid $8.75 million to the Justice Department and entered into a nonprosecution agreement with the department. The rest of the money was paid to the SEC. Microsoft agreed to a cease-and-desist order with the SEC.
Microsoft will not undergo monitoring going forward. According to the Washington Post, Microsoft stated that there were three countries involved with this situation. Microsoft's Smith stated that Hungary was "where the most concerning conduct took place." Microsoft did not share a comment on if any other investigations are ongoing.
Portable (and affordable) power accessories we love
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VisionTek 8,000 mAh micro-USB power bank ($13 at Dell)
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Panasonic eneloop AA batteries (From $13 at Dell)
Panasonic's rechargeable batteries are among the best available, and just a couple of them will keep your favorite remote, mice or other peripherals powered up when you need them. They're also eco. And the company's affordable charger fits and charges both AA and AAA batteries at the same time.
Belkin Qi Wireless Charging Pad ($30 at Dell)
This unobtrusive Qi wireless charging pad looks good (and kind of like a UFO …) and easily charges all your Qi-compatible device up to 5W. Its LED indicator lights up when you're charging. And it costs just $30.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.