Microsoft’s unseemly business in China

July 5, 2011

Microsoft is making a play for the Chinese internet. The software giant will partner with Baidu, a Chinese search engine. The deal takes place in the aftermath of Google’s decision to relocate its servers to Hong Kong due to censorship and human rights concerns.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has a stake in Facebook, which is also looking to enter the Chinese market through Baidu. And there are even rumors that the Chinese government wants to invest in the preeminent social network.

The number of privacy and freedom of speech concerns raised by these deals is mind-boggling. No doubt Congress will demand to know the extent of Microsoft and Facebook’s cooperation with the Chinese authorities. A Microsoft spokesman says, “We operate in China in a manner that both respects local authority and culture and makes clear that we have differences of opinion with official content management policies.” Not enough of a difference of opinion to get in the way of making money, apparently.

Prediction of the day: This will not end well. When you lie down with dragons...

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