Microsoft refuses to buckle to China pressure
Microsoft will not leave China, despite Google co-founder Sergey Brin launching an outspoken attack on the company for ignoring the country’s human rights issue.
Google has closed its Chinese search engine, and is redirecting visitors to its uncensored Hong Kong service – though the Chinese Government had already begun blocking access to certain pages.
Brin called on other large companies to follow Google’s lead, but reserved his biggest criticism for Microsoft.
At Microsoft, we remain committed to advancing free expression through active engagement in over 100 countries, even as we comply with the laws in every country in which we operate
“I’m very disappointed for them in particular,” he said. “As I understand, it [Microsoft] has effectively no market share – so they [Ballmer and Gates] essentially spoke against freedom of speech and human rights simply in order to contradict Google.”
He further claimed that large companies should not put profit ahead of human rights in a clear dig at technology companies such as Microsoft, which have been quick to dismiss notions of abandoning the Chinese market.
“We appreciate that different companies may make different decisions based on their own experiences and views,” said a Microsoft spokesperson when asked to respond to Brin’s comments.
“At Microsoft, we remain committed to advancing free expression through active engagement in over 100 countries, even as we comply with the laws in every country in which we operate. We have done business in China for more than 20 years and we intend to continue our business there.
“We also regularly communicate with governments, including the Chinese, to advocate for free expression, transparency, and the rule of law. We will continue to do so,” he concluded.
Cisco digs in
And Microsoft’s not the only tech company staying put. Cisco supplies the Chinese Government with network equipment powering the country’s Great Firewall of China – which filters political sensitive content on the internet.
Speaking at a technology summit in Saudi Arabia, Cisco’s chief executive John Chambers described the fallout between Google and China as “natural give and take.”
“I’m very much the optimist that the issues will be worked out regardless of differences,” he told delegates, when asked how Cisco would respond.
“I have been doing business in China for 25 years, I have a lot of confidence in the Chinese leadership and I have a lot of confidence in the internet, and I have a lot of confidence in the American leadership.”