Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

MS may reconsider China policy

Posted by Richard Koman - November 1, 2006

"Things are getting bad... and perhaps we have to look again at our presence there." That's Microsoft policy counsel Fred Tipson at the Internet Governance Forum in Athens, the BBC reports.

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.

Earlier, Tipson had joined Cisco's Art Reilly in defending corporate engagement in China, saying that companies have to abide by local rules. He also offered the usual platitudes about providing access being the path to economic growth and thus individual freedoms.

"The economic value in the internet is driving growth and development in educational opportunities [in China]. Openness is often too segmented too narrowly into a discussion around freedom of speech."

Mr Tipson said it was "critical not to portray the internet as a threat to governments. The internet is transforming the political culture of China. There is no question about it."

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