VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi recently published an exhaustive history of the manufacturing issues that have surrounded the Xbox 360, resulting in still unknown numbers of defective consoles and a $1 billion price tag for Microsoft's games division. Hypersensitive readers who pined for the day when we could all just "move on" from the story weren't the only invested parties who took issue with the exposé. One of Microsoft's own contract employees was fired for his participation in the story. Robert Delaware, a Microsoft game tester employed by temp agency Excell Data, was let go on Wednesday and is expected to face civil charges from his former employer, according to an update from VentureBeat.Delaware was the only source at Microsoft to be directly named in the original article. He was quoted by VentureBeat on two separate "red ring of death" scenarios, one that could be triggered by a reproduceable crash , citing NBA 2K6, and another related to dashboard update bugs with Capcom's Dead Rising. The former game tester says he doesn't regret going on record about his experience with the Xbox 360. "If they want to come after me, bring it on," Delaware said, in response to assumed impending civil charges. As VentureBeat points out, it's likely that, in speaking to the press, Delaware violated his terms of employment with VMC, Microsoft and Excell Data and that his termination was legally justified. Microsoft fires game test contractor who talked to VentureBeat [VentureBeat]
Guys, give MS a break here. The situation is not as simple as it seems.
VMC sent Delaware and a bunch of other people to MS and Excell Data under a contract to provide temps. I suspect very much that Delaware is actually an employee of VMC, not MS.
VMC will bring a civil action for breach of contract against Delaware because it has to. It has no choice. VMC has other temps who have or are currently posted at MS who also signed NDAs. Not suing Delaware is bad for VMC for several reasons: First, it sends a wrong signal to its other temps that one can get away with violating an NDA. Second, if another VMC temp violates an NDA and gets sued, that temp may use the Delaware case in his/her defence as an example of unequal treatment.
Third, (and most significant) under the terms of the contract between VMC and MS, I am willing to bet my sweet behind that there's a provision holding VMC liable for damages to MS arising from any crap pulled by its temps, such as violating NDAs. In other words VMC is on the hook for Delaware's big mouth. MS will not waste time on Delaware because, for crying out loud, he's just a temp. Heck, I try to stick to a two sentence limit whenever a temp where I work tries to get friendly. He's probably poor, and therefore judgment proof. But VMC is not judgment proof. And neither is the insurance carrier that issued the general liability coverage for its contract with MS. And even if MS does not sue VMC for this one, there could be another, and MS's pricy lawyers will very likely bring up the non-punishment of Delaware as evidence against VMC. And yes, MS isn't the only company that can do that. Any other place that took temps from VMC can use Delaware as evidence if VMC lets him get away.
So to those of you that won't buy a 360 because of this, all I can say is: grow up, or you may end up being one of those loser temps that don't get to score with us. Oh yeah, if you are a temp and you read this, please, do not waste your time hitting on any woman that works on the executive floor. You know, the one with no cubicles? You have ABSOLUTELY no shot at us. Sheesh.