Would Microsoft Really Consider Ditching China?

from the unlikely dept

There’s a lot of chatter today about the statements from a Microsoft exec on the issue of selling into China, despite complaints about human rights abuses in the country. While many of the other tech companies have been giving their best corporate double speak to tiptoe around the issue, Microsoft’s Fred Tipson became an instant story by suggesting that Microsoft might consider “pulling out” of China. However, when you look at the specifics of what he said, it’s really not as big a deal as it sounds. There are a lot of conditional statements in there: “Things are getting bad… and perhaps we have to look again at our presence there… 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. It’s a moving target.” It really sounds like he’s being honest. The company (like most companies) is monitoring the situation, and will see if it ever reaches a point that they consider to be beyond the pale. However, it doesn’t sound like they’ve hit that point just yet — and considering the market’s sheer size and the amount of money and effort Microsoft has put into China, you’d have to think the company is staying put. If anything, the statement was either a brief moment of honesty (which he might regret), or perhaps designed to act as something of a signal to (a) China, to clean up its act (b) other companies to see if they’ll react similarly, as Microsoft would likely only pull out if it looked like a bunch of companies would all pull out together or (c) the protesters who are upset about Microsoft’s actions, and who may be placated by thinking at least Microsoft is thinking about pulling out, unlike the others. Perhaps it’s all three at once.


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Comments on “Would Microsoft Really Consider Ditching China?”

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15 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Or perhaps all you humanistic morons can’t see past your own personal issues and look at the broader picture. I’m sick of the pissing in the country over China. Get your government to pull out of Iraq and focus on REAL homeland security, stop selling weapons abroad, put money into educating your children, eliminate hungar in your OWN country and then complain about the problems abroad. Stop being so damn self-rightous.

Stu says:

It’s interesting that so many US companies besides MS, Yahoo and Google do business in China, and get very little bad press because of it.

There are exceptions of course, Walmart for example – although it doesn’t seem to hurt their sales.

Furthermore, we don’t hear about companies from other “developed” countries who do business in these places.

I don’t condone human rights abuses in China or anywhere else they exist. However, I don’t think any country can change the internal policies of another without defeating them in a war. And that isn’t easy, is it?

The question is – Do you want to do business with countries that abuse human rights?

David Shealey says:

If Microsoft pulls out of China, what will be accomplished? It seems from most of what I read that the vast majority of computers in China are running on counterfeit copies of Microsoft (and other) software anyway. If they can get one copy, legal or not, they will soon have all they can use anyway. This goes for just about anything in the world that can be copied. The Chinese only pays a small amount of lip service to “cracking down” when pushed. Then, business as usual.

Unknowledgeable Geek says:

Subject

I love all of these posters, that just change the subject and all of a sudden think they are intelligent. I hate to say it, but the US is the best country in the world. What is everyone’s money based on? What is the most commonly spoke language in the world? When a country is in trouble, albeit, financialy, governmently, any ly you can think of where do they turn? Sorry all of you Europeans that have to change the way they do things, i.e. EU, to compete with the US that this is true, but it is fact and the sooner you come to grips with it the sooner this will move forward in this world. Plus we have the strongest army.

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