Some people call it spineless attitude; I call it protecting your interests. As I said in a previous post on this issue, corporations are only interested in making money, growth and satisfying shareholders. Ethics and principles are not their biggest priority or concern. The last thing Microsoft wants is to put their opportunities in China in danger and risk having Yahoo and Google taking over the market there. There’s a lot of opportunity in China, and Microsoft, Yahoo and Google all want to be a part of it.
Ofcourse your products and services should comply to global and local laws! But what about your own beliefs? What about ethics? What about what’s right? Will you just go ahead and comply to anything just to be able to sell?
I am very disappointed in Microsoft because of this, but to be honest I have to say that if I had expected anything else, that would have been very naive of me. Microsoft is just a corporation and will behave like one in the negative sense when they have to. And if it means that they have to just watch and maybe even take part as questionable things happen, they will do it to protect their interests. It’s the same thing with governments. For years the US government had helped Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein because it made sense to do so to benefit from it, even while they knew that Saddam for example was a maniac. When it made sense after a few years to make Bin Laden and Saddam the enemy, they also did so in order to benefit from it and protect their interests.
Even Google with their “Don’t be evil” slogan look like a bunch of hypocrites now trying to bend reality, our perception and possibly warp space time to be able to do business in China and still look innocent and ethical in the process. Ofcourse they are, and will keep, failing big time.
Perhaps the solution to this problem can be so simple as bringing in our beloved Steve-O to throw a few chairs at Chinese government officials, but I doubt that even that would have much impact.
The world is just broken.