Microsoft and Yahoo tell US government to deal with China issue

Microsoft and Yahoo tell US government to deal with China issue

Summary: We don't have the leverage to change government policies--let the US government do it, say Microsoft and Yahoo.

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TOPICS: Government
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Microsoft and Yahoo released a joint statement saying that the China issue is one for governments and not private industry.

"While we believe that companies have a responsibility to identify appropriate practices in each market in which they do business, we think there is a vital role for government-to-government discussion of the larger issues involved. We urge the United States government to take a leadership role in this regard and have initiated a dialogue with relevant U.S. officials to encourage such government-to-government engagement. "

Microsoft and Yahoo also said that there are companies in markets that would love to see them leave, which is why they won't.

"Indeed, there are undoubtedly officials and domestic competitors in most markets who would see great advantage in our withdrawal from their countries.  We think such a decision would not be in the best interests of the people we serve there."

The two companies, whose revenues surpass that of many countries, say that they do not have the leverage to foster change in countries with restrictive policies.

"While we will actively work to encourage governments around the world to embrace policies on Internet content that foster the freer exchange of ideas and promote maximum access to information, we also recognize that, acting alone, our leverage and ability to influence government policies in various countries is severely limited. "

It is interesting that in November, Google hired as its head of corporate communications Elliot Schrage a fellow who has great experience with dealing with foreign governments.

Topic: Government

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4 comments
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  • And they are right...

    Dealing with political reform is NOT the responsibility of business nor would I want it to be. Business is driven by monatary reward and that is a poor basis to build "human rights" on...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • What if business suffers at home?

      What if a business disregards government policies, and that position causes it to lose business in its home markets? Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are in it together, but what if one stood out and said "No." I'd bet you'd see a sizeable shift of business towards the nay sayer...
      foremski
      • I doubt it...

        I don't think people really care enough to alter their behavior in order to reward a company the scoffs the demands of the Chinese governments.

        Heck, I bet if you surveyed the American people, a decent percentage of them would think the Chinese government has the right idea when it comes to requiring major search engines to censor the internet. It's sad, but I think it's true.

        So I don't think it would be a winning proposition for a company to take a stand on this particular issue. The Chinese market is too big to ignore.

        Now, I think if the US government asked the major search engines to censor results, and only one fought it, then I think you'd see a shift within the US market.
        Erik1234
  • RE: Microsoft and Yahoo tell US government to deal with China issue

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    yantangseo