Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) strongly implied that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has done the wrong thing by challenging the Chinese government on censorship of the internet. According to Reuters, Gates views China’s online screening efforts as “very limited.”
Gates also said that companies should abide by the local laws in the nations where they do business or get out.
Gates is friendly with senior Chinese officials and has used this relationship to get the government to crack down on the piracy of Windows. He is now siding with Beijing, and potentially gaining favor, by indicating that Google should follow Chinese laws as a matter of good international business practice. Gates does not need to mention Google by name to make his point.
Gates understands as well as anyone that if Google leaves China it will be an extraordinary opportunity for Microsoft’s Bing search engine to gain market share in the world’s largest internet market. He is taking the public opportunity to tell the Chinese that he is their ally and that Google is not.
Douglas A. McIntyre