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Microsoft Considers Pulling Out of China

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-windows-for-you dept.

443

icefaerie writes to let us know that a senior executive for Microsoft has said the firm could pull out of non-democratic countries such as China. From the article: "Fred Tipson, senior policy counsel for the computer giant, said concerns over the repressive regime might force it to reconsider its business in China. 'Things are getting bad... and perhaps we have to look again at our presence there,' he told a conference in Athens."

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443 comments

correction (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687083)

s/non-democratic countries/countries where piracy is rampant/

Re:correction (1)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687289)

I think that's the plan.
They can pull out of this market, and still have a stranglehold ;)

Shareholders (0, Flamebait)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687085)

Let's hear their opinion. And why stop there? What about other countries who support terrorism, for instance. Are they going to relocate to Canada?

Re:Shareholders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687129)

The shareholders can sell their shares if they don't like it, or replace the Board with one more to their liking. Otherwise, they can lump it.

Re:Shareholders (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687281)

It would be very naïve to expect that. Money has no ideology; and businessmen usually have one ideology - making a profit is good. There is always someone who is willing to do business with repressive regimes.

This is from the article - Fellow panellist, Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of professional body APC, said: "I don't think we should make corporations responsible for securing our freedoms."

This article reminded me of this quote - "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Re:Shareholders (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687333)

And then the glorious soviet union brought his message to the world! Oh, wait, that's not what happen.

Re:Shareholders (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687329)

Let's hear their opinion. And why stop there? What about other countries who support terrorism, for instance. Are they going to relocate to Canada?

Why would you want to relocate countries who support terrorism to Canada? What did we ever do to you? Don't you like our bacon??? Ey, ey??

Re:Shareholders (1)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687335)

What about other countries who support terrorism, for instance.


Where did the IRA get a lot of their funding from?

Re:Shareholders (1)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687465)

*SWOOSH*

Re:Shareholders (4, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687431)

And why stop there? What about other countries who support terrorism, for instance. Are they going to relocate to Canada?

NOOO--, I mean, I don't think that's a good idea. Don't you remember how Canada was an entry point for the 9/11 terrorists? We-- I mean, those Canucks can't be trusted. Microsoft should not move here!

I mean, "there"!

Terror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687507)

USA is the main promoter of terrorism around the world. The only diffence is that it has a large army of mercenaries/patridiots. It'd be better then to Microsoft shut up and stop to be hypocrite like some Americans members at /. in the first place.

Hail, USA!

Ethics (4, Funny)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687091)

When Microsoft leads the way in business ethics ahead of a company with a motto of "Don't be evil", I know it's time ot look for aerial pork.

Ethics is easier... (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687213)

with $40 billion in the bank.

I'm not knocking Microsoft here. I'm just saying it's easier.

Re:Ethics (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687459)

To defend Google, it's not clear that making a principled stand ("We're leaving China because you're fascist commie pigs!) actually benefits the citizens of the country in question. Namely, wouldn't it be worse to have no google than a filtered google?

Re:Ethics (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687489)

Hey those guys outnumber me 3 to 1, so I may as well join them in robbing and beating up that guy since it won't benefit him or ME for me to resist. At least if I join them, I benefit.

Re:Ethics (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687495)

I know it's time ot look for aerial pork.

Going to join the Mile High club [milehighclub.com] eh? I've never understood the appeal, but each to his own.

Commercial rasons? (2, Insightful)

muttoj (572791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687095)

M$ is a commercial entity. If they decide to pull out of a market there must be an other reason then the politics stated above.

My guess: M$ cannot sue chinese citizens if they use an illegal copy.

Re:Commercial rasons? (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687155)

Or the good image it generates will help their sales elsewhere. There's always more than just the direct way to make money.

Re:Commercial rasons? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687219)

China has a billion Chinese getting ready to buy a computer. Would you turn away a billion customers to gain a few million more? even if half are running illegal copies, that's still many times more than you can find elsewhere.

Re:Commercial rasons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687287)

It's more like 99% (or more).

Re:Commercial rasons? (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687435)

Why not? I'd love to see a country with a majority of Apple users (or Linux, or any alternative OS). That or people will still use pirated versions of Windows. I don't know of any people who buy official versions of Windows in China, so the only legit sales they are getting are the ones that come with new computers. Chinese people won't get a new computer very often- I know people who still have computers running Windows 95.

Re:Commercial rasons? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687453)

Perhaps it's just too much of a legal liability for Microsoft.
What if the Chinese government decides to start sueing Microsoft for whatever reason it choses, and forces them to pay huge fines or do things that hurt their business practices, like being forced to publically open up source code. If they have a legal pressence at that time, they might well be forced (physically) into complying.

Re:Commercial rasons? (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687527)

But Microsoft is talking about leaving China not Europe, silly!

Pulling out? (5, Funny)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687113)

Microsoft, when will you learn? Pulling out is NOT a reliable precaution. It's almost as bad as counting business cycles.

Victory! (1)

Honest Olaf (1011253) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687119)

China would be forced to switch to Linux. Then, when China takes over the world, Linux will be spread by force. Excellent, excellent.

Re:Victory! (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687177)

If MSFT pulls out of China, Windows piracy may become (even more) rampant.

The best outcome for linux will be obtained if Microsoft continues to be evil, stays in China, and aggressively enforces the Windows license conditions and tracks down and prosecutes Windows pirates.

Re:Victory! (3, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687515)

China will never take over the world.

It's only really used by the upper class or people who'd like to think they're upper class. Most people just use the regular material that plates and cups are made out of (whatever that it). Some even use paper to avoid having to wash up at the end of their meal.

Re:Victory! (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687539)

China would be forced to switch to Linux. Then, when China takes over the world, Linux will be spread by force. Excellent, excellent.
this has no effect on linux, what-so-ever, ever. what has an effect is linux being a good choice for people. what this might mean is the bigger companies in china have to buy their licenses from the USA, the smaller companies just continue as they are, it's going to change anything. it just means that msft will not be targeting the chinese people (they're lucky).

imo, colleges and schools might start to use linux more actively, if they are forced to comply, otherwise they're not going to be bothered. i think the police have better things to do than to catch pirates, as much as i loathe them, i can understand they have bigger fish to fry.

it's all a matter of what people's motives are, there is little reason for the chinese to start paying for software as there is little threat. so if they at least have a better chance of being taught on the unix way of things then there's a better chance of them using it later in life.

My guess.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687121)

Maybe it has something to do with the fact nobody buys their legit software over there. Hell let's make ourselves look like the good guy and claim we're supporting democracy!

What about Linux? (1)

Pao|o (92817) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687125)

Will Linux pull out of repressive govts or will it stay?

Re:What about Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687153)

What makes you think that "Linux" has any say in who uses it?

Re:What about Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687267)

Linux has never gotten it in anyway, so whether it would pull out is a moot point. :P

In communist China... (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687511)

...the government owns Linux.

Red Flag Linux [redflag-linux.com] ( Linux)

Wikipedia:

In March 2001, Bloomberg News reported that CCIDNET Investment, a VC arm of the Ministry of Information Industry, had become Red Flag's second largest shareholder.

Woah thalk about hypocrits (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687133)

For a company with business practicess like MSFT this has got to be some kind of PR stunt

Re:Woah thalk about hypocrits (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687179)

Last time I checked, Microsoft engaged in monopolistic behavior. China is engaged in wholesale, widespread human rights abuses that make Gitmo look downright tame. Equating the two as basically the same level of evil is not only wrong, but it's insulting.

Re:Woah thalk about hypocrits (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687297)

Learn to read, I never said they were the same level of reading.

What I said was that I find it surprising for a company like microsoft ditching one of the biggest growing world markets.

Re:Woah thalk about hypocrits (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687439)

Learn to read, I never said they were the same level of reading.
Learn to write. What do Microsoft's and China's literacy rates have to do with anything?

Re:Woah thalk about hypocrits (1)

planetmn (724378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687305)

Thank you. Why is it that on Slashdot that Microsoft and the US are always considered the most evil anybody can ever be?

-dave

takes one to know one... (2, Interesting)

nachmore (922129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687137)

Seriously though (and no, I don't mean to flame...) this is a good step. If more leading companies do this then maybe some sort of pressure can be applied. Unfortunately, if this doesn't apply to other large firms (i.e. Google) then this may be a huge market loss for Microsoft.

If Microsoft moves by itself, it opens up a huge consumer market to alternatives like Linux on the desktop and solidifies Google as a market leader in the webspace. People may argue that this is good (more Linux adoption etc) but is this s logical price?

Seems to me as though this is more talk to see what others reaction will be. I can't see Microsoft pulling out of such a huge market leaving it open to others with different principles.

Won't happen (5, Funny)

nnnneedles (216864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687139)

Everyone who thinks this won't happen, mod me up.

Thank you.

Re:Won't happen (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687231)

OOps, sorry, I thought you said "raise your hand".

Re:Won't happen (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687233)

Everyone who thinks this DEFINITELY won't happen, mod him down.

leverage (4, Insightful)

orbitalia (470425) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687157)

They are just looking for some leverage to influence China to update its anti piracy laws.

All democratic companies should pull out (1, Informative)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687163)

Really, I don't know why any US companies can do business with China. China does terrible, horrible things to their people. We're talking on par with Cuba, Iraq, and many rogue African and S. American countries. Yet for some reason we seem to turn a blind eye to it. I've never understood it. I'm sure it's all political because the US couldn't survive as a country without China. It's easy to say no to cuba, it's much more difficult to say no to a country which supplies over 90% of our furniture and large chunks of our circuit boards.

Greed (1)

OverflowingBitBucket (464177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687269)

Really, I don't know why any US companies can do business with China.

Initially, greed. For those competing against them, necessity.

China does terrible, horrible things to their people. We're talking on par with Cuba, Iraq, and many rogue African and S. American countries. Yet for some reason we seem to turn a blind eye to it. I've never understood it.

Because there is no immediately visible consequence to saving 50% on items made in China versus elsewhere apart from the immediate savings to that person. The decision for one person not to makes no difference. It is the decision of many people that creates the market.

It could be stopped, and pressure applied, if people voted for representatives to create laws to apply some sort of penalty for buying from such regimes. No such laws have been created. Says a lot about the representatives and the people voting for them, doesn't it?

Re:Greed (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687401)

It could be stopped, and pressure applied, if people voted for representatives to create laws to apply some sort of penalty for buying from such regimes. No such laws have been created. Says a lot about the representatives and the people voting for them, doesn't it?

You don't even need to be so extreme as to be a single issue voter. A simple consumer boycott would do wonders. True, you can't possibly hit EVERY company, but you could hit enough to make a difference. The idea isn't so much knock out every single company that works in China, but instead is to make it enough of an issue that other large companies see it as a marketing point. Case in point; we now have "FairTrade" coffee that grew from concern over how labor was treated in other nations. We also now have companies like HomeDepot that refuse to by anything with wood that isn't certified as being rain forest trees free. Whole Foods now buys only renewable sources of electricity. Are these all PR stunts? Hell yes. Do they all make a large impact on the problem? You better believe that they do. Companies really don't take much pressure before they cave, they simply need to feel like their actions matter enough that consumers actually notice and the few cents less they make is made up in good will and a few more product purchases.

Of course, the first damn near impossible step is to get consumers to actually care.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687271)

So you're very careful to make sure the products you buy don't come from China, "Cuba, Iraq, and many rogue African and S. American countries"? No? You still buy that stuff?

I think you have your answer "why any US companies can do business with China".

Even if someone you ARE this amazing saint... Very few other people are willing to follow your lead. If they were, the whole 'Walmart if killing America' movement would catch on better.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687301)

It's called realpolitik, i.e. the actual doings of the government. The american government can utter all kind of statements regarding their moral high-ground but in reality they now that China is to powerfull to really boycott.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

buddhaunderthetree (318870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687339)

If you look at the US's history with China you'll find that always envisioned China as an almost limitless market that could absorb vast amounts of American goods. And we've always been wrong, China has always been more interested in developing their domestic industries. If you go back and look at some of the arguments for the Open Door Policy you'll find them very much like the arguments made by free traders today.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687359)

Where's your source? Or is it based off of reports in the US media. Most Chinese don't have a problem with their government, at least no more than we have with ours.

Get your facts straight.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

ksalter (1009029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687371)

How many things to you own that were made in China? Clothes, toys, etc. Have you ever shopped at Wal-Mart, Target, Sams, etc? That is why US companies do business with China. Because US citizens want cheap stuff and don't give a rat's ass where it comes from or what the human rights policies of the country are.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

planetmn (724378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687381)

Economics:
1) Cheap Labor
2) Large Market
It's as simple as that.
-dave

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687385)

WTF? Cuba? The biggest atrocities committed in Cuba are by the USA, in their concentration camp.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687393)

"Really, I don't know why any US companies can do business with China."

Few US companies do business with "China".

US companies -- groups of individuals -- engage in beneficial trade with other individuals in China. How evil the Chinese and US governments may be has no bearing on the right of two individuals to carry out their own private business.

If you're saying it's ridiculous for the US government to use violence against its own citizens to keep them from doing business with Cuban people, and not use that same violence against people who trade with Chinese people, I'd agree. (But probably for the opposite reason you intended.)

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687483)

I'm sure it's all political because the US couldn't survive as a country without China.

I would certainly argue that point. If you are referring to "cheap labor", then we would probably be BETTER OFF without China, and instead put resources into Mexico, at least in the mid to long term. At least if we moved jobs to Mexico, it may slow down illegal immigration as there would be more jobs. Transportation of goods would also be cheaper, and Mexico has a tremendous amount of natural resources. Moving labor to a country (usually) has the effect of raising their standard of living, which is CERTAINLY happening in China.

It would be expensive if the US quit doing business in China, mainly because we have invested so much there since the 1970s. But the US would surely survive. Who knows, we may be building computer parts in Cuba or Central America in 10 years anyway. Indonesia, Maylasia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and many others need the investment in infrastrure and would welcome being "cheap labor" while they built up their own countries.

We import from the poorest country in Europe, Moldova [moldova.org] (former Soviet Union, between Ukraine and Romania). They do great work, get paid 2 to 4 times more than their national average and welcome the opportunity. They also make some very good wines [winemoldova.com] .

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687493)

The U.S. economy is like 4 times the size of the Chinese economy. Even if you believe that the dollar is worthless and doom is inevitable, all the stuff available in stores across the country is not coming from magic, there is real productive, economic activity going on. The fact that it is cheaper to pay China to build furniture, electronics and crappy plastic doodads than it is to build them here doesn't change that any.

Some silly people might even believe that doing business with China and increasing the average wealth of Chinese citizens is a net benefit to the Chinese people and a good way to move forward the goal of establishing a freer, more open system of government there.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687561)

What others also do not understand is the economics that building in China actually produces more wealth in the USA. It is NOT a zero sum game. Example:

Widget costs $1 to produce. China sells it to us for $1.30. Wholesaler in the US sells it to stores for $1.65. Stores sell it to you for $2.50. Gross profit: China $0.30 per unit. US $1.10 per unit. Net benefit: Guy making $10 an hour used to pay $3.50 for widget, now gets it for $2.50. uses extra $1 to buy something else.

Most of the additional expenses (rent, labor, advertising) is all spent in the USA. The close you get to the actual consumer, the higher the profits and margins are. This is pretty basic economics. Yes, we lost one job in manufacturing, but we gained additional jobs because now Joe Sixpack can spend more, so we need more stores, more employees, more stuff. Obviously, we need to create an even trade balance, but both countries will benefit if we do so.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

TheWart (700842) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687519)

Well, I am not going to try and defend the companies who work in China, but I know people make the following argument (I heard this a lot whil I was over in France, for example, and I am sure people use it all the time in the US):

Basically, it states that by actually doing business with China, countries can apply subtle, yet critical, pressure on the government to open up over time. They claim that by allowing China to take advantage of the free market, it has moved them away from a strict communist regime and this has had a corresponding effect (albeit to a smaller scale) on their political/human rights/etc front.
While I think some people just use this as an excuse, I do think there is some merit to this argument. Then again, I am sure the Chinese political dissedents would vehemently disagree.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687521)

we could survive without china... well we could have...

But business has traded morals and ethics for profit.

We are all in trouble in the long run.

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687529)

Really, I don't know why any US companies can do business with China.

I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say "money".

They have the largest population of any country in the world, and they are rapidly developing (at least in industry if not socially, although that seems to be slowly happening as well).

So cheap labor, over a billion potential customers, and and a stable (albeit evil) government.

Finkployd

Re:All democratic companies should pull out (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687549)

I don't know why any US companies can do business with China. [. . .] I've never understood it.


It's a huge market by any metric, and it is poised to become the single most important one monetarily. That's it, really.

-Peter

time for a new icon? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687167)

For stories like this, perhaps the Gates pic should not have the borg hardware. De-assimilation, you know.

Re:time for a new icon? (1)

kapowaz (667664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687337)

Maybe a mashup of Seven-of-Nine in her slinky Borg catsuit with Bill's head on top...?

Re:time for a new icon? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687409)

"Maybe a mashup of Seven-of-Nine in her slinky Borg catsuit with Bill's head on top...?"

Why not just leave her regular head in place? And come to think of it, nix the catsuit. Now your talking.

Re:time for a new icon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687417)

Ew! My eyes... the goggles do nothing!

Re:time for a new icon? (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687517)

Ok, now THAT is disturbing.

Should read as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687169)

now that Chinese labor unions are infiltrating foreign businesses [iht.com] it's probably time to move to another more business friendly nation.

sure they care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687181)

sure they care, bet it's about anti piracy laws

He surely means development... (1)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687187)

I'm sure he means closing development centers in China (if at all).
I don't think they will stop selling. If they make Office and Windows for Taiwan (and they make it for smaller markets too), then what will stop them to sell in China?
They can stop fighting piracy in China and just see any revenue there as a gift. I'm sure there are people that will buy it, at least foreign companies operating in China.

Taiwan and the PRC (1)

querist (97166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687413)

Actually, just because they make software for Taiwan does not mean the same software will work in the PRC. The two entities (the US does not recognize Taiwan as a separate country) use different character sets. Taiwan and most Chinese-language nations use the traditional character set which has developed over thousands of years. The PRC and Singapore use what is called the "Simplified" character set which was developed in the PRC to help improve literacy rates by simplifying may of the more complex characters by reducing the number of strokes (lines/marks) needed to write them. I've seen characters that have been reduced from over 20 strokes to fewer than ten.

Most younger Chinese in the mainland and Singapore cannot read the traditional characters, so the software would be difficult to understand at best, and useless at worst.

I do not know if Singapore is a significant enough market for Micro$oft to continue producing a Simplified Character set version of their software.

This is why the language codes zh-CN and zh-TW exist. The official language used in both is essentially the same other than some regional variations, such as different words for "taxi" and different interpretations of "ai4ren2" (Literally "love person". On the mainland it means "spouse", in Taiwan it means "lover" and implies an extra-marital affair.) (Sorry -- no Chinese characters -- I can't be sure everyone will be able to see them.)

Re:Taiwan and the PRC (1)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687501)

Sorry for catching me in my ignorance.

Even then, I think there are enough Chinese expatriates, Chinese companies operating abroad, foreign companies operating in China, etc. etc. etc. to make it worth.

Except if you prove me wrong again... :)

Re:Taiwan and the PRC (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687569)

Well, couldn't they continue producing these products for Singapore - which can resell them in China if they choose - and with the expectation that the mainland will one day be free? This would allow them to use a proxy to sell within the country without getting their hands dirty. Considering the market for legal software is small and prospects for piracy control are dim, this isn't an unreasonable option. They definitly don't want the people there getting used to a different OS.

PR Stunt (3, Interesting)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687193)

I'm usually on the other side defending MS, but this is clearly just a PR stunt. No company, including the slashdotter's holy Google & Apple, would pass up the chance to get at $1billion+ people. The chinese economy is just begining to ramp up, and they LOVE technology and the internet.

I suspect they are just trying to get some good press...

Re:PR Stunt (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687373)

Where did that $ sign in "$1billion+ people" come from? :-)

Spin spin spin (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687199)

If Microsoft does this, it will be for some other reason. I have a really hard time believing MS execs could get a rationale like "We're pulling out of this massive massive massive but largely untapped market because our bleeding hearts tell us to" past the shareholders.

My money's on protecting their IP - not just piracy, as others have mentioned, but concerns about stuff like components of it being reverse engineered and incorporated into competing products.

Re:Spin spin spin (1)

idesofmarch (730937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687551)

Whatever is going to be reverse engineered will still be reverse engineered, with or without Microsoft's presence in China.

Pulling out of US anytime soon? (1)

AslanTheMentat (896280) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687203)

What with the suspension of Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus in the last few months, I'd like to know when they are going to be pulling their business out of the US. Quite frankly, things are "getting bad" here to, and a much more alarming pace than China even. Hell, China has IMPROVED since the 80's, which the same can't be said of terror-dominated U.S.A.

Re:Pulling out of US anytime soon? (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687283)

I am curious when was Posse Comitatus suspended recently? I didn't see anything on the news about the military performing regular police actions w/out the consent of congress

Re:Pulling out of US anytime soon? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687361)

"I am curious when was Posse Comitatus suspended recently?"

Shame on you for missing the last Bildeburger meeting. Didn't you read the announcement in your "Skull and Bones Society Alumni" newsletter?

Re:Pulling out of US anytime soon? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687555)

No really... "getting bad here" is nothing like "getting better" there.
I completely agree it is getting worse here. Vote out the republicans- vote for 3rd party where it will make a difference.
Republicans have somehow wed religion to oppression and corporatism using abortion and gay rights to allow torture (of foreign nationals) and a gross expansion of government power.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Human_Rights/Sha nghai_Surprise.html [thirdworldtraveler.com]

The government's all-out war on Falun Gong, a spiritual sect dedicated to meditation and breathing exercises, has been well publicized. But rarely mentioned is the fact that Beijing's security services have routinely tortured and murdered Falun Gong adherents. The Chinese authorities reportedly have locked hundreds of Falun Gong supporters in psychiatric hospitals and force-fed them drugs; imprisoned thousands more in the world's largest system of labor camps; and quietly executed several Falun Gong practitioners. ///
Details of Chinese executions are shocking: According to Wang Guoqi, a pathologist who formerly worked for a Chinese army hospital, doctors frequently harvest the organs of executed prisoners, none of whom consented to organ donation. He tells of a doctor removing a kidney from a still-breathing prisoner who had survived the initial gunshots. After the organ was removed, the condemned man was left to die. ///
"There are hundreds of little brush fires burning," warns David Zweig, an expert on rural China at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. "Will they become a blaze?"

See? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687209)

China can obviously liberate itself... No reason for your children to die there...

The reasons (3, Insightful)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687221)

"Your Honor, my client Microsoft seeks to cancel these contracts because we object to China's
- lying
- unfair practices
- unprincipled use of its economic potential
- painfully slow turnaround time for patching bugs

Sorry, Your Honour... We can strike that last one from the record."

That'll teach 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687237)

That'll teach those thieving Chinamen to not pirate Microsoft products!

Seriously... what does China have to lose by Microsoft pulling out? It's not like they're strictly necessary to them... or even helpful...

persecuting of bloggers (1)

An anonymous Frank (559486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687251)

"We have to decide if the persecuting of bloggers reaches a point that it's unacceptable to do business there."
And just how exactly is the removal of Microsoft software going to affect bloggers over there?

How about the US too? (1)

swamp boy (151038) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687265)

Can we sign up the United States for that list too?

No, they won't (1)

theskipper (461997) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687293)

It would be irresponsible to their shareholders to give up on a market of a billion people. From TFA, Cisco too.

It's simply good PR posturing, that's all.

I wonder (1)

sheriff_p (138609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687299)

So I wonder what MS are trying to put pressure on China to do?

They're a business, pulling out of China is bad business. They're bluffing. I wonder what they're trying to win. *yawn*

Please post the article since BBC is censored. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687319)

I am reading slashdot from China which censors the BBC web site. I am very interested in this article. Can someone please include it so I (and maybe some others) can read it from China. In addition, I would really like to know the
best way to get around this censorship on my Linux system. Thanks!

Why would China care? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687389)

If MS pulls out of China, the PRC will simply declare (or act as though) copyright and trademark don't apply to companies that pull out. So each time MS releases a patch or new OS or new version of Office, someone will crack it right away for Chinese consumption.

I don't really see how MS has much leverage here. MS could maybe have the U.S. govt. go to bat for them, but we're in such debt and military over-extension right now, and have so few friends around the world, that we're not in a particularly strong negotiating position vs. China.

Hope it's true but... (1)

Glacial Wanderer (962045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687415)

I hope Microsoft and other large corporations are legitimately considering measures like this since I feel something needs to be done. If the Chinese government's repression of its peoples' rights were slowly lessoning over time I'd say let time sort the issue out; however, to me it seems things are just getting worse over there as technology enables the government to assert more control over its people. I do think if the government sees that in order for their country to continue its relatively free world trade they will slowly start giving it's people more rights to keep trade/money flowing. Since big governments don't seem to have the guts to cut off China, I'd hope companies would.

That said my guess is that this article could simply be a sympathy piece put out by Microsoft. Talk is cheap. Corporations need to do something, not talk about it to make people like them more.

It would be good for China... (1)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687429)

They'll just move on to Linux... and not have to spend billions of dollars on the "Microsoft Tax".

Besides, the Chinese government won't have to worry about malicious code coming from an American company (not that they did anyways since I doubt there's anything to fear).

As westerner who atually lived in china. (4, Insightful)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687437)

This could mean so many things really.

First of all there is the crazy piracy which costs them huge dollars and causes trouble since the pirated windows spread virii like crazy. Also there so much trouble enforcing contracts. When I was running my IT business people would constantly try to renegotiate the price AFTER the project was completed. A not small amount of time people would just not be able to pay. Forgot about taking them to court.

Then legally you can't really know if you are breaking the law or not half the time. Usually if you are breaking the law come down to who you know. So it's hard for them to make project plans and then suddenly the gov't tells them they can't do something (after they spent millions).

I know a guy working on a TV movie in China. They wrote this super tame script and had it checked by the gov't censor board. Then after spending several million dollars and months of effort the gov't decided they couldn't sell the movie, because it showed foreigners beating out local Chinese people. So this makes it hard to commit the big bucks in China, you get nervous that the gov't will suddenly make some arbitrary change and put you out of business.

Yeah, it's sort of like this here in the US (and lately our gov't been closing the gap) but it's much much worse in China. Or maybe the foriegners all get the 'special' treatment, who knows? At least that is my experience, and I lived in China (all over) for a couple of years, and I have western friends there living in china as long as 12 years.

So there might not be totally humanitarian reasons for this, although there certainly could be really bad stuff here that even MS doesn't want to be associated with.

Re:As westerner who atually lived in china. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687563)

"First of all there is the crazy piracy which costs them huge dollars"

Can it be proven that Microsoft is losing anything? I mean, if these Chinese could not pirate Windows, Office, etc for free, how many of them would even consider paying for it?

i'll applaud them if....... (1)

onegear (802747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687441)

i'm no fan of microsoft but if they are really thinking about pulling out of china because of the reasons stated in this article, then more power to them. i'll applaud their social and human rights responsiblity. but since this is microsoft, i questions their real motives......

C'mn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687469)

"Things are getting bad... and perhaps we have to look again at our presence there," he told a conference in Athens.

"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."

Sounds like pretty good reason. MS has to supply info to Chinese government on who their bloggers are, and they get arrested. Why should then MS be attacked for thinking about calling it quits until such prosecutions stop?

Who cares? (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687479)

Who cares?

Microsoft aren't making any money out of China what with rampant copying. But the copying won't stop if they pull out. The Chinese will just make copies of independently-imported Microsoft software, and it'll be Business As Usual.

There might be a small gain for Open Source, but it's kind of doubtful. "Not having to pay for it" isn't much of an advantage when you don't have to pay for anything else either.

YRO? (0, Offtopic)

Kuciwalker (891651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687491)

Why do the editors abuse this category so? What does this have to do with my rights, let alone my rights online?

China, the defender of human dignity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16687499)

At least China doesn't persecute and mass-murder muslims. Way to go for the US if they ever want to be seen as "democratic" outside of their own borders. Go China, Go France!

Get real (1)

WisC (963341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687545)

Right like microsoft really give a crap about democratic rights, true they cannie do shit about piracy and might want to get some good publicity out of this, but from what I heard they make a good buck from stifling free speech by making software for the chinese government. Of course if slashdot cared about the chine workers democratic rights (which they don't) then they would not give MS any publicity and instead try and push the envelope of Open source to china. Forget blog your way to freedom, OPEN SOURCE your way to freedom and the selfsmug shet eating will follow!

http://goatse.cz/ [goatse.cz]

No Chance (2, Insightful)

Jack Sombra (948340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16687553)

There is no chance of MS doing this, would be commercial suicide in the long term and would have the shareholders gunning for the heads of the MS board on a platter

MS want something from China (probably better anti piracy laws/enforcement) and this is a a vague (and toothless) threat to try to get their way
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