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On Wednesday Republicans and Democrats in Congress rebuked Microsoft for participating in Chinese censorship. Bill Gates, company founder defends the decision, stating, "You've got to decide. Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you're in, or not?"

Chinese people show their appreciation for Google's decision to stand up to their government's censorship.  (Source: Guardian UK)
Rep. Smith, R-N.J.:"They [Microsoft] need to get on the right side of human rights rather than enabling tyranny, which they're doing right now."

There has been much talk about Google's decision to pull out of China while Microsoft has remained directly complicit in Chinese internet censorship.  Today a bipartisan U.S. Congressional panel praised Google's actions, while admonishing Microsoft.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D warned, "China wants to participate in the marketplace of goods but keep the marketplace of ideas outside their country.  Only when China respects human rights and allows the free flow of ideas ... only then will they be treated as a full member of the international community."

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. praised Google, commenting that the company's decision to uncensor its Chinese search was "a remarkable, historic and welcomed action."

GoDaddy, the popular domain registration service, also was praised by Rep. Smith for pulling out of China due to privacy violations.  Microsoft, however, received a rebuke from the Representative.  He stated, "They [Microsoft] need to get on the right side of human rights rather than enabling tyranny, which they're doing right now."

Microsoft insists it is merely following the local law.  A company statement read, "We appreciate that different companies may make different decisions based on their own experiences and views.  At Microsoft we remain committed to advancing free expression through active engagement in over 100 countries, even as we comply with the laws in every country in which we operate."

The statement echoes the words of Microsoft former CEO, co-founder, and renowned philanthropist Bill Gates, who in January remarked, "You've got to decide.  Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you're in, or not?"

China agrees.  Its China's State Council Information Office comments, "Foreign companies need to abide by China's laws when they operate in China.  Google violated it's promise."

The issue is made more complex by the fact that Google has in the past censored search results in other countries, such as Thailand, Turkey, France [see the Wikipedia page on Google's past censorship for more info].  Google has made no suggestion that it will reject censorship in the future.  Nonetheless, its uncensoring of its Chinese search is perhaps the highest profile example of defiance against online censorship in terms of number of people affected.

Microsoft, on the other hand, says it is opposed to Chinese censorship, but continues to participate in it.  It enjoys a wonderful opportunity to capture more of China's close to 400 million internet users with Google out of the picture

A new law may make it more embarrassing for Microsoft to stay this course.  The Global Online Freedom Act, a bipartisan initiative pending in Congress, would force U.S. firms to disclose what materials they are censoring in foreign nations -- including China -- in effect airing search firms' dirty laundry to the public.

Back in China, the government imposed backlash against Google picked up in earnest with China Unicom and other business officially giving the Google search engine the boot.  China Unicom, the nation's second largest carrier, did not announce and immediate replacement.  It has been speculated that it may stop selling Android handsets or at least stop releasing new models, however, those claims have yet to be validated.  It seems clear, however, that the Chinese government is infuriated and Google will likely face more repercussions in coming weeks.

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RE: Why pile on Microsoft?
By Jalek on 3/25/2010 4:11:08 PM , Rating: 5
H1B visa levels have doubled every time Gates has asked, and he's asked often. His foundation spends millions on colleges in India while he cites a lack of education here as the reason for the needed visas.

They were coming by the planeload, learning the business environment and methods, then going back to Bangalore to set up an outsourcing office that fit into the company.

They're not being barred from entry. They stopped applying when the job openings dried up.

RE: Why pile on Microsoft?
By Hieyeck on 3/26/2010 3:16:29 PM , Rating: 5
The lack of education started in grade school. The US has turned into such a nanny state that the kids are growing up less educated and more spoiled. Walk into a high school these days and you can see it right away. The way kids talk to their parents is unbelieveable, like they own the world. If I talked back to my parents like they do now, I'd get a good slap across the face. To them, life is one big party. When I went to college, I went to study. All you hear about these days are how students are so stressed because they can't fit in a party a night and how there's no time in the morning to get over their hangovers.

THAT's why people would rather hire an immigrant.

RE: Why pile on Microsoft?
By Lerianis on 3/28/10, Rating: -1
RE: Why pile on Microsoft?
By Hieyeck on 3/29/2010 3:39:52 PM , Rating: 3
Thanks for proving my point: there are only 23.98 (practically rounded off to 24) hours in a day, not 25. You are exactly the problem. The product of parents from a nanny-state, raised by a generation too high to raise their own kids.

My immigrant parents instilled in me those values from "OTHER" countries. The one impressed upon me most was focus. Work is work, so get the f*** to work. When work's over, work's over - enjoy your family and friends and tell work to screw off (unless they come to me with delicious overtime, but even then there's a limit). Multi-tasking has been proven ineffective, so why the hell are you trying to make work fun and make fun work? Focus your life. Of course, that's just me. But it also got me a job ahead of the curve, because when my boss hired me to do 8 hours a day, she knew she was getting a more effective 8 hours than the next guy over busy sipping his latte and chatting up the hot assistant in marketing.

Frankly, I prefer nanny-parents over nanny-state. I prefer them being able to customise the parenting to suit my needs. I prefer that when I could've royally pissed of some stranger if I weren't some snot-nosed kid, that they took me aside and made sure I knew it, so I didn't find out the hard way later in life and get stabbed or shot. Just sayin' I prefer being slightly bruised over seriuosly maimed or dead. I prefer them doing their jobs and the state staying out of it.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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