Ballmer stands strong on China position

Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer has defended his company's stance on staying in China.

In a blog posted today, the Microsoft chief executive (CEO) said any company that wants to be global has to adhere to local laws and China was no different.

"Engagement in China and around the world is very important to us, in part because we believe it accelerates access to 21st century technology and services and helps provide the widest possible range of ideas and information," he said.

"We have done business in China for more than 20 years and we intend to stay engaged, which means our business must respect the laws of China. That's true for every company doing business in countries around the world: we are all subject to local laws."

There has been growing pressure on companies to respond to the Chinese stance on freedom of speech and internet blocking since Google announced two weeks ago it might pull out of the country altogether.

Google claimed that it had been targeted by hackers from the country as well as several Gmail accounts of either human rights activists or sympathisers with the cause being attacked.

However, Microsoft was quick off the bat to tell the world it wasn't going anywhere, with Ballmer announcing just two days later that the attacks were nothing unusual.

"Microsoft is opposed to restrictions on peaceful political expression, and we have conversations with governments to make our views known," Ballmer added.

"We will continue to work with companies, organisations and governments around the world to advance these issues in the future."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.