As the Iowa Caucuses approach, Microsoft has partnered with the Republican and Democratic parties in the state to create apps for tabulating results. But the Bernie Sanders campaign is questioning why, exactly, the company is involved at all.
Questioning why the company would give away apps
"You'd have to ask yourself why they'd want to give something like that away for free," Pete D'Alessandro, who's heading Sanders' Iowa campaign, said in an interview with MSNBC.
D'Alessandro said the campaign, which has often criticized corporate influence in elections, will be using its own reporting system, as the Clinton campaign has, to double-check the results. He clarified that the issue was not with the Iowa Democratic Party as a whole, but with Microsoft's involvement specifically. MSNBC also reported that other Sanders aides have raised concerns about Microsoft employees donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to Clinton over the years.
A spokesperson for the Iowa Democratic Party told The Verge that the app has been under development for more than a year. "Microsoft and their app partner, InterKnowlogy, are global leaders in the technology industry, and we completely trust the integrity of their staff and the app," the spokesperson said in a statement. "The app will help make caucus reporting more efficient, accurate and secure, and we look forward to seeing it in action on caucus night."
Microsoft, for its part, is disputing that it had any ulterior motive in creating the apps. "The Iowa Caucuses provided a unique non-partisan opportunity to use technology to help evolve the reporting process," a company spokesperson told The Verge. "Microsoft is providing technology and services solely to administer and facilitate a neutral, accurate, efficient reporting system for the caucuses. We are proud to partner with the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties to ensure accurate results on caucus night."
Update 1:32PM ET: Includes statement from Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson.