Software pirates, Falun Gong supporters, free Tibet activists--China's prisons have room for you all!
PR professionals, take note. Here is how you do not want to position your company against a competitor during a tricky news cycle.
Google is adding a bit of luster to its halo by threatening to pull out of China, whose security agency appears to be hacking Gmail servers and accounts in order to crack down on human-rights activists. (See The New York Times' account.) The "don't be evil" company tarnished its brand by agreeing to Chinese censorship of its searches a few years back; now it's weighing potential lost revenues in that country versus the unfettered Internet to which it claims allegiance. Freedom versus money, in other words; principles versus profits.
Then there's Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. As Reuters reports, he was asked the inevitable question: Would you, like Google, reject China's terms of access to its market for the Bing search engine and other Microsoft products?
C'mon, Steve, you knew this one was coming. And the reply? "No. I don't understand how that helps anything. I don't understand how that helps us and I don't understand how that helps China."
Wait--Microsoft is in the business of helping China? That might surprise shareholders and consumers. Here we thought it was a software company. Silly us. And how else might Ballmer propose his company help the world's largest dictatorship clamp down on civil liberties?
Bing now optimized to report to Chinese authorities all searches on "free," "freedom," and "freezing rain"
Microsoft Word no longer recognizes the spelling of Orwell, Trotsky, or Sergey Brin
Software pirates will be shot and skinned and their corpses preserved in that Bodies show
Windows 7 now includes complimentary Chairman Mao screensaver (no, you may not disable or change it)
Taiwan no longer exists in Word's dictionary
Outlook now ccs all emails directly to Chinese security agencies
Dalai Lama is now a forbidden Bing search term (as is llama, just to be safe)
MSNBC now terms Chinese industrial accidents as "minor work stoppages," deadly earthquakes as "unforeseen weather events," government corruption as "helpful reorganization of ministries," and rampant pollution as "scenic green sunsets"
Your Outlook contacts are now stored securely in Beijing
A Bing search for "world's handsomest, smartest, most successful man" yields the image below