Bill Gates Sides With Ballmer, MSFT On China

"Keeping the Internet thriving there is very important"

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About 10 days ago, Steve Ballmer indicated that he didn’t share Google’s views with regards to China; Ballmer said that Microsoft would continue operating in China regardless of recent hacks and a policy of censorship.  Today, Bill Gates more or less echoed those sentiments.

Some free speech advocates might have hoped Gates would feel otherwise; after all, now that he’s let Ballmer take the reigns at Microsoft, Gates seem to have focused his energies on doing good in the world, and Google’s claimed the moral high ground in this dispute.

Nonetheless, according to Reuters, Gates said on Good Morning America, "You’ve got to decide: Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you’re in, or not?  If not, you may not end up doing business there."

Gates also argued, "The Chinese efforts to censor the Internet have been very limited.  It’s easy to go around it, and so I think keeping the Internet thriving there is very important."

There’s further confirmation that Microsoft will stay the course in China, then.  Of course, we have yet to see what will become of Google’s own protest.

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Bill Gates Sides With Ballmer, MSFT On China
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  • http://www.duran-seo.co.il Duran seo

    This seems like a teasing response from bill gates. i totally support google on making the right statement. it’s not always about making money.

    i think bill gates completely misses out on something bigger that google is unwilling to give up even at the cost of losing business in china.

    tell me something bill what fo you mean by saying “and so I think keeping the Internet thriving there is very important.” ?!?!

    the internet cannot thrive if it isnt 100% transperent to its users. we are talking about tryouts to reach people that have an interest in freeing china. these people are often hunted down.

    in a country where civil rights and freedom of speech is being depressed constantly there is no place for business. some things are more important than money bill.

    and if you are into doing good in the world lately, take a good example from google.
    let us hope sergery brin and larry page won’t leave google and that the core value “don’t be evil” will stay in the center as it is today.

  • Guest

    Oh please… last time I checked, we don’t live in a Utopian society, and all businesses are in the end trying to maximize profit.

    Pulling out of China is just unrealistic. Their growth in the number of internet users last year was 86 million, more than the population of Germany… or France… or UK… etc etc…

    The potential for growth there is remarkable, and any business willing to pull out of a market like that is just putting on a show.

    It can also be argued that some information is better than no information at all. If Google leaves, is it really better for the Chinese people? There would still be the same laws and regulations… Plus, Google isn’t even the most widely used search engine. The company with the largest market share (around 60-70%) is actually Baidu, a domestic company more than willing to comply with Chinese laws.

    Also, I think another huge problem with this whole spat is that people often don’t understand the need to “save face” in Asian cultures. There is just no possible way that China will comply with Google and risk losing face even if it is more “moral.”

    And I think it’s just silly that the whole threat is based on cyber attacks. The majority of cyber attacks in China come from the US! You don’t see China asking for a “transparent investigation.”

    If you want to play in the field, you have to play by the rules… That’s just common sense.

  • johnnyf

    I love google products but can’t believe the political game they are playing now….
    Microsoft says YES, we stay. Google on the other hand is saying MAYBE. Talking about straightforwardness… My bet is that Google is simply not going anywhere. Money still matters…

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