A View from David Appell

Microsoft Apologists

Yesterday I blogged about Microsoft’s decision to aid and abet the Chinese government in their desire to censor Chinese bloggers. Robert Scoble, a Microsoft employee and prominent blogger, predictably comes to his employer’s defense: after writing that he believes in…

  • June 14, 2005

Yesterday I blogged about Microsoft’s decision to aid and abet the Chinese government in their desire to censor Chinese bloggers. Robert Scoble, a Microsoft employee and prominent blogger, predictably comes to his employer’s defense: after writing that he believes in the first amendment–for him, at least, he continues, “So I have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS forcing the Chinese into a position they don’t believe in.” “Business” is the operative word here, as in dollars to Microsoft’s bottom line. Rebecca MacKinnon, a fellow at Harvard University’s Beckman Center for Internet and Society, takes him to task: “But nobody’s asking Microsoft to force China to do anything. The issue is whether Microsoft should be collaborating with the Chinese regime as it builds an increasingly sophisticated system of Internet censorship and control.” That, as I wrote yesterday, is the real issue: why does Microsoft value China’s business above the liberal values of democracy and free speech that have enabled Microsoft to grow into what it has become? MacKinnon has plenty of blame to go around–Microsoft is hardly the first to assist the Chinese government in their despicable goals–just perhaps the most blatant. As MacKinnon concludes, “I can tell you one more thing about the Chinese. They hear what you say, then they watch how you do business. From there, it’s pretty easy to figure out what your real values are.” I think we know now about all we need to know about how Microsoft does business….

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Listen in as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.