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Ballmer Defends Microsoft In China

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the race-is-on dept.

Censorship 162

An anonymous reader writes "Mr. Ballmer has recently posted on the official Microsoft blog discussing future business in China and defending Microsoft's stance of cooperating with the government even as other large IT companies have begun making public condemnations (Google and Twitter being the most prominent). Couple this with Bill Gate's speech on China's censorship being not all that bad (a speech very well received by Chinese media) and you've got people wondering: Is Microsoft aiming to take Google's place in China?"

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162 comments

More than likely. (2)

AllyGreen (1727388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934384)

Sounds like typical MS style. Plus they've got to great lengths before to get the chinese gov to use their software. Don't see whats changed from their point of view.

Re:More than likely. (1, Redundant)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934400)

Corporations need to apply by laws, There are laws I don't like in my country, there are laws I don't like in US, and there definitely are laws I don't like in China. But if you want to work in any of these environments, you have to go by laws

Re:More than likely. (2)

AllyGreen (1727388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934456)

Which is exactly what I meant by not seeing whats changed from their point of view.

Re:More than likely. (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934582)

Well, that's true. After all, they're only obeying orders, and so they bear absolutely no personal or corporate responsibility for the consequences of their actions. That's how it works, isn't it? Right? Right?

Re:More than likely. (1, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934842)

After all, they're only obeying orders, and so they bear absolutely no personal or corporate responsibility for the consequences of their actions. That's how it works, isn't it? Right?

That's right son, just obey the orders. And get that vagonload of Jews to the gas chambers.

Re:More than likely. (3, Interesting)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935590)

That's right son, just obey the orders. And get that vagonload of Jews to the gas chambers.

And what of the wagonmakers? Must they stop making wagons because of how some of their wagons are used? What about the wheelwrights and axlemakers?

At some point along that line, it no longer becomes immoral to remain in business, even if you are aware that some of your products are being used in an utterly despicable manner.

Re:More than likely. (5, Insightful)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935780)

At some point along that line, it no longer becomes immoral to remain in business, even if you are aware that some of your products are being used in an utterly despicable manner.

The question is not whether Microsoft should remain in business. It's whether it should do business with a government that will use your products in a repressive manner. A wagonmaker could probably sell his wagons to someone who does not kill its own citizens for their ethnicity and still remain in business. But here is the crux. It won't quite make as much money. And the pure lust for profit is what is objectionable here.

Re:More than likely. (1, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936548)

And where do you draw the line? A country (or state) that still has the death penalty for crimes that don't carry the death penalty in your country (or state)? A country that invades other countries and kills their citizens with no legal warrant? With questionable legal warrant? A country that supplies any of the above with funding or equipment? A country in which individuals supply any of the above with funding or equipment? A country in which some groups are seriously repressed but not killed? A company with a diversity policy not quite as encompassing as yours?

Realistically, if you're making the gas chambers then you have decided your moral position by the business you are in. If you are making the actual tools of killing then there's a case that you have a moral duty to take care over how they will be used. But the further you get from that then the more your moral responsibility is diluted, to the point where it's lost in the noise.

Just out of interest, if there are problems with MS providing software to such governments, what does the Linux/GNU community do to make sure their tools are not used instead?

Re:More than likely. (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938192)

Just out of interest, if there are problems with MS providing software to such governments, what does the Linux/GNU community do to make sure their tools are not used instead?

I can't speak for the entire community, but personally, I don't modify the system to order for censorship nor do I sell a support contract for that use.

Re:More than likely. (2, Insightful)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938218)

I said "a government that uses your products in a repressive manner." If you know your widgets will be used repressively, then try to avoid making that possible. Linux/GNU software is free and openly available, so there is nothing that CAN be done by definition to prevent China from using it, unless you have suggestion. They don't profit from it. Profiting from evil is taking blood money. By the way, I'm not suggesting no Chinese should be able to buy Windows. I'm suggesting that the Chinese government should not be sold technology that they will use to repress their people. Why is this so hard to understand? If MS is not doing so, then fine.

Re:More than likely. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935830)

That makes no sense. The Wheel makers deal with the Wagon makers, not the despicable entity. It is the business that deals directly with the entity in terms of direct sales that should be under scrutiny, not the ore miners, metal welders, axle and wheel makers.

Re:More than likely. (1)

ShogunTux (1236014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936376)

And yet this is exactly what's going on with the internet and holding ISP's responsible. I think that's what the grandparent was trying to refer to in a roundabout way.

Re:More than likely. (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935904)

What about when the order comes in for a wagon specialy designed for the purpose? China demands that they change their product in a way that everyone in the company has to recognize is unethical, but everyone just goes along with it and claims they're just following orders.

Re:More than likely. (2)

micromoog (206608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936100)

> At some point along that line, it no longer becomes immoral to remain in business The point where that occurs is where your actions and decisions no longer have a significant impact. Microsoft, and your wagon makers, are both far from that point. It's entirely within the wagon maker's power to refuse to fill that order for 1,000 new wagons to the Nazi Party. If the wagons are making it to the Party through aftermarket back channels, THAT's where the wagon maker can begin to claim no moral responsibility. That's not where we are, though.

Re:More than likely. (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938100)

At SOME point yeah, but it's probably further down the line than the pawn broker selling to the guy that says "gimmee a gun, I gotta cap some gas jockey's ass!".

It's one thing to sell to someone who may or may not sell to someone who may or may not misuse the product. It's quite another to sell to someone who you know for a fact intends to misuse the product to harm others.

Re:More than likely. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935516)

what do you expect ballmer loves having chinese cock in his ass

Re:More than likely. (0, Offtopic)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936644)

I thought asses [wikipedia.org] were vegetarian, so how is Ballber going to get a cock [wikipedia.org] into his?

Re:More than likely. (3, Insightful)

interploy (1387145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937138)

What corporate responsibility? Because it seems to me there's a lot of talk about corporate responsibility, but when it comes to it, the powers that be don't really care what a corporation does so long as they don't screw the shareholders/government. Otherwise, when a corporation comes into violation with the law (and assuming the defendants can afford to holdout for the duration of the trial), the most they'll get is some nominal fine that sounds big to the average person, but is really no more than a slap on the wrist.

All this justification crap is just fluff. Here's the real reason Microsoft is in China: Microsoft wants to make money. China has money to spend. Therefore, Microsoft will cooperate with China so it can get some of it's money.

That's it. Surprising, I know. Honestly, Microsoft could go on about how it'd give every Chinese person a fucking ice-cream shitting unicorn and it'd come to the same effect. So long as the shareholders are happy, it doesn't really matter what they say to the public.

Re:More than likely. (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938114)

google IBM and the Nazis...

Re:More than likely. (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934772)

You don't have to abide by the law. It's certainly possible not to (individuals and corporations do it all the time), though it would be wise to at least know when you are and aren't operating within the law.

Re:More than likely. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30934850)

Which of these are you trying to say?


  1.      
  2. Corporations need to apply bylaws. Microsoft's bylaws [microsoft.com]
  3.      

  4. Corporations have to go buy laws. Recent Supreme Court campaign finance decision [cornell.edu]
  5.      

  6. Corporations need to abide by laws. [please provide a reference]

Re:More than likely. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934852)

We'll remember that the next time you visit Iran and are stoned to death for showing too much skin. I mean, the law is the law, right?

Re:More than likely. (2, Insightful)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936256)

Well, you could just, like, not go there, you know? It's not like you're being forced to.

The problem here is that not only Mr. and Mrs. Microsoft are going there but they're saying that they're pretty happy with the local laws. So it makes one wonder which is worse:

1. They really believe that, or
2. They don't believe it but they say it anyway just to get even more dirty money.

Re:More than likely. (2, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935464)

The following question appeared on a political science final exam in college (pertaining to American History):

        "If all laws are just, were the Founding Fathers criminals?"

Understand that, and you understand the essential conundrum between respecting local laws and living according to principles. How corporations behave when faced with this says a lot about them and the people who run them.

Re:More than likely. (2, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936802)

The following question appeared on a political science final exam in college (pertaining to American History):

"If all laws are just, were the Founding Fathers criminals?"

For what it's worth, when answering a conditional question like that you have to take the "if" part to be true even if you don't consider it to be. So the interesting bits of that question are whether the Founding Fathers broke any laws whilst actually under the jurisdiction of those laws, and if all laws are just does that mean that all laws should have universal jurisdiction. I don't know enough American history to answer the first part, but I reckon I could make a strong case for an answer of "No" to the second.

Re:More than likely. (5, Interesting)

Greg Hullender (621024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935604)

Actually, at least when it comes to Search Engine censorship, China always gave Microsoft a pass. I was responsible for the team inside MSN Search (now Bing) that developed the software to filter "objectionable content". (The "safe search" feature.) In places like the US, customers can turn it off, but in places like Germany and China, where there are laws, the customers cannot. I was uneasily expecting to have to incorporate a list of banned sites from the Chinese government, and while I didn't like it, I didn't see any way around it, and I spoke to our VP privately about it to make sure he understood my position. That my loyalty was to the company and I'd do what had to be done, even if I didn't like it.

Much to my surprise, he was upset with me. He had VERY strong feelings about this issue, and he insisted China wasn't going to make us do it. That was the same month when China's president visited Microsoft before he visited George Bush, and in his speech on campus, he said, "China is a friend of Microsoft because Microsoft has always been a friend of China." Sure enough, whatever China made Google do, they didn't make US do anything special. Germany was a much bigger headache.

So I guess I'd say, that, no, you actually don't have to go by those laws if you're in a country that puts personal relationships above the law. Apparently they really don't think of the law the same way we do, and that was a real eye-opener. For me, anyway.

Or maybe the real truth was that the Chinese government figured out that our poor little search engine couldn't find the objectionable stuff anyway except by accident, and they just felt sorry for us. :-)

--Greg (happily retired from it all now)

Re:More than likely. (2, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936002)

But if you want to work in any of these environments, you have to go by laws

Well, there are two problems here. The first is that the Chinese government and his state corporations don't obey Chinese law. Isn't it forbidden to hack into other peoples computers in China?

The second is the key difference between Microsoft and Google:

  Microsoft is directed by your standard issue marketing drone, Ballmer, and the result is what you usually get from western corporations: mindless search for profits. He may as well be operating a arms dealership.

On the other hand, Google (and many of the internet startups) is directed by people that at least gives some thought to morals and let it "interfere" with business. For them there are some laws that one cannot obey.

Re:More than likely. (1)

Greg Hullender (621024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936110)

Except that in this particular case, Google did obey those laws. It was Microsoft that had the moral objection. (Or our VP did, anyway.)

The right and wrong on this one is very muddy.

--Greg

Re:More than likely. (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938686)

You misspelled "buy"..

Re:More than likely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935992)

I'd like to put a tag "bottomfeeder" to this article (can an Anonymous Coward put a tag on this article)?

Re:More than likely. (1, Insightful)

soupd (1099379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936824)

I'm no fan of Microsoft but whatever your ideology or beliefs, commercial realities remain and China is, and will continue to be, big business. Kudos to Google perhaps, but if I were a Microsoft shareholder I would want Microsoft to be wanting to make inroads in to this market. Morals do not pay the bills. As an individual would you (not the parent) be happy to content to contribute half your income for the rest of your life if it meant China was truly free and democratic? I doubt many would.

So, self-regulation is a fantasy? (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938496)

Thanks for making it so clear that there is no hope for self-regulation at all. The only hope to keep companies behaving even the slightest therefor must come from government control. Nothing like a honest capitalist to make clear the need for government interference.

Are you kidding? (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934396)

you've got people wondering: Is Microsoft aiming to take Google's place in China?"

Of course they are! What a dumb question.

Re:Are you kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935324)

LOL

Of course (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934398)

Of course. Microsoft wants to take Google's place everywhere.

In China specifically, Microsoft can't pack up and leave like Google did. China's already a big target for their anti-piracy efforts Their only option is to play nice with the government and get cooperation, no matter how bad it really is.

Re:Of course (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934638)

pack up and leave like Google did

Except Google haven't. At least as yet.

Re:Of course (2, Interesting)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934652)

"China's already a big target for their anti-piracy efforts"

I think the whole piracy issue in China is a marketing plot. A Chinese friend once told me Bill Gates said something like "As long as they (Chinese) are pirating our software, it is ok."

Re:Of course (5, Informative)

Greg Hullender (621024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935196)

Bill Gates made this comment at the new hire party I attended when I joined Microsoft in 1994, so I can vouch for its authenticity. I heard him say it with my own ears. However, it's worth noting that what he said, in full, was "As long as they're pirating software, we want them to be pirating ours. Sooner or later, as their economy develops, they'll switch to paying, and when that happens, ours will be what they'll want to buy."

I think China is developed enough to pay for software now, and I'm very sure Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts are genuine -- even though I haven't worked for Microsoft for two years now.

--Greg

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936206)

-- even though I haven't worked for Microsoft for two years now.

I call BS. MS-Decontamination takes longer than that, and the facility does not allow access to the internet.

Re:Of course (1, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934722)

Microsoft wants to take everyone's everything everywhere forever, by absolutely any means possible

Fixed that for you.

Microsoft have "no option" other than to obey ze orders, you say? I call Godwin [wikipedia.org] on that.

Re:Of course (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936396)

China wants to take everyone's everything everywhere forever, by absolutely any means possible

Fixed THAT for you. Seems the immovable communist state is going to meet the unstoppable monopoly.

Panda Express ranked higher on Bing than Google! (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934430)

MS is bribing senior Chinese officials by sticking MSG like code into their software

Ubuntu's alignment with MS's search engine (0, Flamebait)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934432)

I wonder if this will have any impact Ubuntu's recent announcement that they are switching to use Yahoo (which is Microsoft Bing underneath) as the default search engine in their next release.

Re:Ubuntu's alignment with MS's search engine (2, Insightful)

BeShaMo (996745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934602)

Uhmm... no?

Re:Ubuntu's alignment with MS's search engine (2, Insightful)

arevos (659374) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934648)

I wonder if this will have any impact Ubuntu's recent announcement that they are switching to use Yahoo (which is Microsoft Bing underneath) as the default search engine in their next release.

Yahoo already has a history of rolling over for the Chinese government [bbc.co.uk] . If Canonical doesn't mind associating with a company that helps oppressive regimes track down dissidents, I don't think Microsoft's announcement is going to make much difference.

Re:Ubuntu's alignment with MS's search engine (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938448)

You know, I just can't look at Canonical/Ubuntu the same way any more. It's like Slipknot after the Coq Roq lawsuit... [thesmokinggun.com]

google's "do no evil" was .... (2, Informative)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934552)

... in contrast to who, and what attitude, did you think? ms always plays everything to get ahead, to it's advantage, legal, moral, ethical, technically smart, agreements compliant, ... or not.

MS+China (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30934584)

Can there be a sweeter target than this? Microsoft + China, two most hated entity here.

Re:MS+China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30934796)

Birds of a feather flock together.

Re:MS+China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30934942)

we will call it chindows

Re:MS+China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935068)

I don't hate China, I just severely with a passion dislike their unethical business practices, tyrannical government, disregard for international law, shoddy craftsmanship and use of poisonous materials, all of which puts the lives of many people in danger, not just in China, but all over the world!!! ARGHHHH!!! /me wants to throw a chair!!!

maybe Ballmer sees his reflection in China (4, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934586)

Microsoft's business tactics and China's public policies have some overlap. Microsoft probably sees little wrong with how the Chinese government runs the country as shown by the Gates and Ballmer statements. They resemble each other.

LoB

Re:maybe Ballmer sees his reflection in China (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934750)

I think Microsofts only critique of China is how Microsofts products are warezed and sold freely in China.

Re:maybe Ballmer sees his reflection in China (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936724)

funny, in 2006 they also said that they like this because it gets more people familiar and therefore addicted to Windows. Being two faced for the sake of business and profits don't you think? Anything goes.

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/apr/09/business/fi-micropiracy9

LoB

i will remember this (1, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934684)

that's just immoral. up to now i had mostly technical reasons i disliked microsoft. now, i have stonger ethical and moral reasons as well. i won't forget. that's just bordering on treason.

Re:i will remember this (2, Insightful)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935048)

What do you mean then? Just don;t follow local laws. How about telcos sleeping with Govt on wire tapping in US? US has many craps like that too. India being a democratic country has many restrictions too. How about England, with all those security cameras invading people privacy in the name of security. How about airport strip search in US in the name of security. May be China is a extreme cases. Businesses should not get involved in this type of nonsense. What makes you think that majority of people in CHina do not support what their govt is setting up? It is up to the people to get what they want, they had a revolution to bring in communist rule to the country and they have the capacity to get rid of it too.

Stupid use of the word... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935234)

that's just bordering on treason.

A corporation, particularly multinational, has no concept of the word.

Re:Stupid use of the word... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937132)

No, but the government does, and the government is owned by the corporations, so in effect, acting against the corporations that control the government can be considered treason.

Re:i will remember this (2, Interesting)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935340)

MS is a business, not a freedom fighter in the human rights movement. I supposed Ballmer could come out and take a stand and stop doing business with China. Only to see their stock price plummet. Then he'd be shown the door.

A lot of companies were overjoyed by Google's stand in China. It'll open the door for more business. This is just the first move in an orchestrated PR campaign to kiss China's ass.

Am I proud of the whoring, evil profit-above-all motives of our companies? Not especially... I noticed the other day that Google's founders are selling off their shares [cnn.com] and could lose control of Google. I am terrified to think of what Google will become in the hands of Wall Street.

Re:i will remember this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936382)

MS is a business, not a freedom fighter in the human rights movement.

If I can take this comment out of context for a second, I think we all have a responsiblity to protect freedom, for ourselves and for others. Problem is, most people don't realize that, or don't really care. Ballmer is probably the latter. I guess I am too.

Re:i will remember this (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938546)

I don't think business and ethics absolutely are mutually exclusive.

Re:i will remember this (0, Troll)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935842)

that's just immoral. up to now i had mostly technical reasons i disliked microsoft. now, i have stonger ethical and moral reasons as well. i won't forget. that's just bordering on treason.

I'm sort of with you, but remember that Google hasn't done anything about leaving China - they've made a public statement that they might leave and then done nothing while it's been pointed out that their Chinese revenues are almost zero. For now, judging by their actions, Google and MS are in the same boat.

Hey, maybe it's a good thing! (5, Funny)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934770)

You know Microsoft's strategy of embrace, extend, extinguish? Microsoft is embracing China's censorship and lack of social liberties. Let's hope they get to the "extinguish" phase, quick!

Re:Hey, maybe it's a good thing! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935908)

Well. they have to go through the "Extend"-phase first, and that's sort of scary.

When will the Microsoft Re-education Suite hit the stores?

How about Microsoft Planned Economy? Now you only need one spreadsheet!

Re:Hey, maybe it's a good thing! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936822)

I don't know about you, but I encounter mindless MS zealots almost daily. I can only assume they've been through some sort of re-education/indoctrination program.

Hi I'm Clippy! (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936984)

Looks like you're deciding on a family planning strategy!

Would you like help?
[] Get more info on the one-child policy.
[] Get more info on the one-child policy.

Re:Hey, maybe it's a good thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30938040)

We dont whant 1.4 Billion chineses to be asimilated. That will be to much to deal with.

I don't buy it. (2, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30934916)

The important thing to keep in mind here is that Chinese by and large don't share the same mindset as Americans, that being that personal freedoms are more important than anything else. In fact, I don't think people in most Asian nations place value on personal freedoms to the extent Americans do. They'd much rather have a secure, stable society than appease to every little whim. China is no longer the absolute disaster that it was under Mao and China in many was has more of a free market economy than the US does. But in general limits on social freedoms is very consistent with Chinese and asian culture.

There have been politicians in Hong Kong fighting increased Chinese control over the territory and several have resigned in protest. It makes sense since Hong Kong was exposed to the West so extensively for so long. That said, I'm curious to know if the average citizen even cares. Taiwan, which surveys have found to have among the most open-minded people in Asia, share many of these same beliefs. Certainly, exposure to Western culture is slowly eroding some of these long-held ideals.

I do find it ridiculous that Sergey Brin would somehow be touched by this cause considering that the situation in China is nothing at all like the situation was in the USSR. The Chinese government today is communist in name only. It makes me wonder if Google isn't making all this up to avoid discussion of the real reasons for their leaving China.

Re:I don't buy it. (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935026)

I agree, I am as outraged as Google at the lack of searchable porn in china.

Not at all like the USSR. Really! (5, Insightful)

jjo (62046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935290)

"nothing at all like the situation was in the USSR". Yeah, right. There is no similarity whatsoever between the USSR and the PRC in the restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. Not the tiniest bit of similarity. As different as night and day. Chinese censorship is not at all like Soviet censorship. Brin must be certifiably insane if he perceives a parallel between the two.

Re:I don't buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935614)

The mindset of their culture is somewhat irrelevant. If a person has an ideology they have an obligation to adhere to it. A libertarian business owner who runs an authoritarian hierarchy at his workplace is a hypocrite. Likewise a libertarian who runs an authoritarian household, where he dictates his politics, religion, etc., to his children or is excessively controlling of them and/or his wife is also a hypocrite.

And finally, a libertarian business that profits by supporting non-libertarian ideologies when dealing with other countries is also a hypocrite.

All I'm saying is, if you believe in something, you support it regardless of whether the people you deal with support it or not. A christian shouldn't become a buddhist just because he is in a buddhist country, and a American shouldn't support the lack of freedoms in Asia even if Asians don't want said freedoms. Principles shouldn't be for sale to the highest bidder as that makes them no principles at all.

Re:I don't buy it. (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936094)

But then what was the point of even entering the Chinese market? If they really had these high ideals, they would stop catering to other restrictive markets as well. In Germany, Nazi websites are censored by Google for instance. We may not like the Nazi websites, but if they really believed in the ideals that they say they do, they would leave Germany as well.

Re:I don't buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936466)

If they really had these high ideals, they would stop catering to other restrictive markets as well

My point was that they don't actually have ideals, hence they are hypocrites. It's just bullshit propaganda.

Re:I don't buy it. (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936852)

But a CAPITALIST that embraces a non-capitalist environtemt and makes a profit is NOT a hypocrite.

Re:I don't buy it. (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937780)

China in many ways has more of a free market economy than the US does

Their environmental and public health records prove this to be true.

Re:I don't buy it. (3, Insightful)

sp3d2orbit (81173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937904)

They'd much rather have a secure, stable society than appease to every little whim.

This is a fallacy. Authoritarian government do not promote secure, stable societies. They repress. They oppress. They don't allow people with grievances to air them or to hold the government accountable for their actions.

Authoritarian governments CREATE instability because they eliminate the safety valves that prevent small grievances from becoming revolts.

It's quite simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935032)

Ballmer's favorite tool, his Herman Miller Aeron Graphite Chair (medium size, C, if you are curious) has a frame developed in China.

Re:It's quite simple. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935786)

Ballmer's favorite tool, his Herman Miller Aeron Graphite Chair (medium size, C, if you are curious) has a frame developed in China.

Ballmer specifically picked it out for its aerodynamic properties.

MS is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935038)

Companies shouldn't meddle in international politics.

It's the smart thing to do (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935044)

China is well on its way to being the largest market on the planet, and there doesn't seem to be much if anything on the horizon to challenge their ascendancy. Getting on board with them is just plain smart.

For more strategic advice, refer to Armand Hammer.

Re:It's the smart thing to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935166)

maybe we should start killing everyone who "gets on board" with fascists

Re:It's the smart thing to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30936398)

Oh, yes, because that's not at all fascism in its own right...

Microsoft is desperate for new revenue... (1, Informative)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935190)

and is willing to sell the corporate soul to obtain it.

Re:Microsoft is desperate for new revenue... (2, Informative)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935360)

and is willing to sell the corporate soul to obtain it.

I agree, except to say that Microsoft has no soul to sell, making the sale that much easier. I think Krupp had the same easy path to collusion with the Nazis.

Sorry, that is a lie (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30938636)

MS is NOT selling its soul in China for revenue. You cannot sell what you do not have. Ballmer and Gates have no morals. Oh, they are not evil, that takes a commitment. They just have absolutely no moral compass whatsoever. Look at how Bill Gates does his charity work, always with an angle to somehow better MS. It is the way he thinks.

And before you defend him, remember that is a LOT easier to have morals if you are rich. If MS pulled out of China what would happen to these two guys? Absolutely nothing. They ain't doing this to survive, they are doing it for yet another billion whose difference they will never ever notice.

i thought communism was anti-american (1)

brezel (890656) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935450)

ah no wait, that was linux.

In China there are people and dollars (1, Informative)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935602)

M$ says: "Give us the dollars; fuck the people".

OK, fine. That's business.

Except that corporations (from Latin corpus meaning "body") enjoy a legal status as an entity, like a person. It should be possible for this legal entity ("body") to have a conscience. Some seem too, via the actions of their bosses. Maybe Google actually does.

M$ has shown time and time again that it does not.

I want to make an anology with Union Carbide. This is from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster [wikipedia.org] :

The Bhopal disaster was an industrial catastrophe that took place at a pesticide plant owned and operated by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India on December 3, 1984. Around 12 AM, the plant released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins, resulting in the exposure of over 500,000 people. Estimates vary on the death toll. The official immediate death toll was 2259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3787 deaths related to the gas release. Other government agencies estimate 15,000 deaths. Others estimate 8000 to 10,000 died within 72 hours and 25,000 have since died from gas-related diseases.

Some 25 years after the gas leak, 390 tonnes of toxic chemicals abandoned at the UCIL plant continue to leak and pollute the groundwater in the region and affect thousands of Bhopal residents who depend on it, though there is some dispute as to whether the chemicals still stored at the site pose any continuing health hazard. There are currently civil and criminal cases related to the disaster ongoing in the United States District Court, Manhattan and the District Court of Bhopal, India against Union Carbide, now owned by Dow Chemical Company, with an Indian arrest warrant pending against Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide at the time of the disaster. No one has yet been prosecuted.

Wikipedia also has an article on "corporate social responsibility": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_social_responsibility [wikipedia.org]

Bing is also a Chinese personal name (1)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30935794)

Other than that it's just a way to remember the insurance salesman from Groundhog Day

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30935796)

If Google decides not to censor results, then it implies MS will censor results.

Which search engine would people most likely use?

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936336)

The one that doesn't get firewalled by the government for failure to comply with their censorship laws?

Being Evil - Just Part of the Business Plan (5, Informative)

careysub (976506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936044)

With Google "Don't be evil" is a shibboleth that sets an aspirational goal which, as so often happens in the real world, may only be honored in the breech.

With Microsoft "being evil" is, and has always been, at the core of their whole business model.

not all that bad (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936208)

Yeah really... they're not killing anybody, just breaking their kneecaps. I mean c'mon!

Do you want me to slow down?? Or do you want me to stop?!

Censorship? Really? (4, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936248)

Microsoft will cooperate as long as they have a shot at public sector revenue. This is hardly unique to China. If the nation of Venezuela wanted Microsoft products, they'd take their money.

I think American crossed the line into full-scale hipocracy(sp!!) by calling China out on censorship. The Chinese are more overt, but the effects are the same.

How about killing prisoners at Guantanamo? http://harpers.org/archive/2010/01/hbc-90006368 [harpers.org] How was that story handled?? I'd argue that's a pretty serious situation and yet, somehow the mainstream media won't touch it. The title AP gave it was "Harper's questions three Guantanamo deaths." Somehow, prisoners under 24/7 observation are able to stuff rags down their throats AND THEN hang themselves? There's room for 'a question?' http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-18-guantanamo-deaths_N.htm?csp=34 [usatoday.com]

How about the *massive* transfer of weath orchestrated by the Fed and Treasury? It's a 'bailout.' Maiden Lane 3 somehow generates profits in a way obvious to exactly no one. GM's debt holders got barely pennies on the dollar depending on their debt senority and yet AIG's counter parties got every single cent back. And the headline is "this is troubling" ?? http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jan2010/db2010018_994080.htm [businessweek.com]

Let's go back a few years to Sibel Edmonds story that *no* media would touch.

I missed the part where the American Republic was a bastion of Freedom.

You are allowed to write it. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936904)

The USA is the bastion of freedom. The difference between the USA and China, is that, in the USA, you can say whatever you want. Like, you talk about Gitmo, but you are allowed to level your charges. Whether other people believe you is not the deal. In China, or Iran, or any other number of places, people are really being oppressed and really being killed. IT's just not the same to compare the real struggle for freedom in despotic regimes with the desire of some losers in the USA to get attention with outrageous blog posts.

Re:You are allowed to write it. (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937662)

but you are allowed to level your charges. Whether other people believe you is not the deal.
Fair point. I hadn't thought of it that way. So, what's your reason for categorizing the examples as lunatic rambling? I'm serious here. Because I don't get it. Do you like your money taken from you by your government? You think some bad guys probably dying at the hand of your government is good? Despotic regimes do the same thing.

the real struggle for freedom
Believe it or not, I'm sure we actually agree on lots of principals. I think we'd agree to disagree on how those principals are turned into action though.

What is 'real' and what is 'freedom?' A Republic that has clearly capitulated to banking and oligopolists is 'real' and 'free?' I'd like to know how you define this 'real freedom' versus your most despised 'non-free' place.

really being killed.
Those deaths at Gitmo look like killing to me. What about all that killing in Iraq where the WMD's and Al Qaeda never were? CIA's secret prison facilities? Despotic regimes have secret prisons too. They torture and kill just like the Americans. How do you clearly distinguish between American secret prisons, torture, deaths and another with no moral ambiguity whatsoever? That's a serious question, not flamebait.

Re:Censorship? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937042)

How was that story handled?? I'd argue that's a pretty serious situation and yet, somehow the mainstream media won't touch it.

I certainly could be wrong, but I feel that the censorship that occurs in America by the media isn't really caused by government interference. I think it's more a matter of tribalism. People don't like to air their own dirty laundry. It's much easier to distract away from it by airing someone else's.

Re:Censorship? Really? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937562)

Even if the mainstream media never covered it, the difference is still enormous. For one thing, you can still find those articles on the internet, something you wouldn't be able to do in China if it were the Chinese government. For another thing, the writers of those articles aren't arrested, kidnapped, torchured, killed, or harvested for organds. If you really don't see the difference... I don't even know what to say.

The corporate foolishness (1, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30936944)

Is that, the Communist Revolution in China is essentially lawless. The whole idea of a corporation requires that laws actually exist and be consistently enforced. You have to have property rights, speech rights, indeed, human rights for corporations to happen, otherwise, they too can be randomly jailed and seized - witness what's going on in Venezuela. So, really, Microsoft and Walmart and other China collaborators are really just hoping that the current personalities in China will be consistent, and they are foolish if they think those hopes are anything more than risky hopes.

If you know your history... (1, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30937462)

I am sure IBM didn't see anything wrong with Nazi Germany either.

mod uP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30937506)

Very own shiiter,
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