Microsoft's desire to avoid a fine combined with a power company's strict electricity usage rules resulted in the software giant deliberately wasting millions of watts of power, according to the New York Times. Redmond's Quincy data center, which houses Bing, Hotmail and other cloud-based servers, had an agreement in place with a Washington state utility containing clauses which imposed penalties for under-consumption of electricity. A $210,000 fine was levied last year, since the facility was well below its power-use target, which prompted Microsoft to deliberately burn $70,000 worth of electricity in three days "in a commercially unproductive manner" to avoid it, according to its own documents. The utility board capitulated and reduced the amend to $60k, but the messy situation seems a far cry from Redmond's pledge to become carbon neutral by this summer.
[Image credit: New York Times]