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.

Comments closed
    • tesmar
    • 13 years ago

    Economics is what will force the Communist party further into moderation. If enough companies push hard enough all at the same time, I bet the government would topple. Maybe not right now, but give it another 10 years. Let’s hope that MS is only the tip of the Ice burg; Chairman Mao, may your evil be undone.

    • metalrex
    • 13 years ago

    “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.”

    Huh, thats just a lazy, isolationist ideal. I wonder if that high level director realizes that the United States is essentially made for the corporation. . . Ever hear the term capitalism? Our companies are essentially representing the desire of the consumer, i.e. The citizen. The government is really only to serve protection services (Legal and Physical)

    Kudos Microsoft! A good decision if it goes through.

    • firestorm02
    • 13 years ago

    I wounder if this is more aboot the high level of piracy rather than social represion. If no one is legaly buying the product why bother.

    • wierdo
    • 13 years ago

    Long term this would probably mean MS’s own death. I doubt they’d do it.

      • Shintai
      • 13 years ago

      Orly? What would you use, chinese apps and OS? 5.2billion vs 1.6billion.

        • wierdo
        • 13 years ago

        Sure, why not? They just have to become useable enough to be viable. You think a country with a population of a billion and a strong foundation in science and education could not possibly come up with something good one day?

        I call that sort of underestimating future developments a car industry mistake.

    • bdwilcox
    • 13 years ago

    Hear, hear!

    • Plazmodeus
    • 13 years ago

    I for one find this a refreshing thing to hear, even if I doubt it really means anything. Many people in the hi-tech industry claim to be big supporters of core democratic values, but when faced with the possibility of being cut out of their piece of that big 1 billion consumer market in China, those values get compromised (shame on you google, yahoo, and cisco). There’s only one kind of values; the ones you stick with through thick and thin, no matter what it costs you. Would it cost M$ to pull out of China? You bet. Kudos to the Vole for even considering it.

      • muyuubyou
      • 13 years ago

      They are not considering it. It’s obviously a bluff, just like the EU case.

      MS can’t afford to create a perfect breeding ground for the competition.

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