Microsoft ponders China pullout

The Chinese market could eventually find itself stripped Microsoft’s presence, the BBC reports. At a conference in Athens, Greece, Microsoft Senior Policy Counsel Fred Tipson expressed concern over China’s repressive regime and said, “Perhaps we have to look again at our presence there.” He explained, “We have to decide if the persecuting of bloggers reaches a point that it’s unacceptable to do business there. We try to define those levels and the trends are not good there at the moment.”

The statement follows criticism aimed at companies like Cisco, which some accuse of colluding with the Chinese government to help it censor Internet content. Google was also the subject of controversy earlier this year after it started censoring the Chinese version of its own search engine, and Microsoft received similar criticism for censoring blogs.

Despite those concerns, however, a growing number of Chinese citizens now have Internet access, and Tipson believes the Internet is “transforming the political culture of China.” Another panelist at the conference, APC Executive Director Anriette Esterhuysen, also said she doesn’t think corporations should be made responsible for securing freedoms. Instead, she believes government should enforce ethical policies on companies who do business with foreign governments.

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