Microsoft Hunkers Down in China
Posted on Mar 26, 2010
Call its decision soulless and/or good business, Microsoft has decided to stay in China despite the departure of its competitor, Google, from the country after a row between the government and the search site over the censorship of Web pages.
Microsoft said it would stay in China and continue to obey the country’s censorship laws, which include forbidding pictures of tanks and protests when one searches for “Tiananmen Square,” for example.
Google believed that moving its operations to Hong Kong, outside China’s Great Firewall, would shame its competitors into leaving the country as well, thus allowing Google to preserve its market share and international clout. —JCL
Hopes that Google’s forthright stand on censorship in China would inspire other companies to follow suit appeared unfounded today, with the move instead threatening to widen the rift between some of the world’s most powerful internet companies.
Microsoft, which has considerable interests in the country, including its Bing search engine, responded directly to criticism by Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, who this week accused the company of speaking against human rights and free speech.
Brin, who pressed for the closing down of Google’s self-censored Chinese search engine, said yesterday: “I’m very disappointed for them in particular.”