Google's Brin attacks Microsoft's China stance

Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin has accused Microsoft of trampling human rights to make ground against Google

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has accused Microsoft of ignoring human rights in China to gain ground on the search giant.

The software giant's position in China came under intense scrutiny in January, after Google revealed it would stop censoring its Chinese search results in protest at attacks on its network - a threat it's now carried out.

Microsoft was quick to announce that it wouldn't follow Google's lead, with Bill Gates describing Chinese web censorship as "very limited" and Steve Ballmer arguing that "we're attacked every day from all parts of the world and I think everybody else is too. We didn't see anything out of the ordinary."

They have effectively no market share – so they essentially spoke against freedom of speech and human rights simply in order to contradict Google

Speaking to The Guardian, Google co-founder Sergey Brin claimed Microsoft's stance was aimed at scoring points over Google. "I'm very disappointed for them in particular," he said.

"As I understand, it [Microsoft] has effectively no market share – so they [Ballmer and Gates] essentially spoke against freedom of speech and human rights simply in order to contradict Google."

"We have always opposed [censorship] but obviously we have now taken a stronger point of view," he said. "I would hope that larger companies would not put profit ahead of all else. Generally, companies should pay attention to how and where their products are used."

The comments will rankle with execs at Redmond, especially given the fact that Google operated a censored search service in China for three years. When asked whether Google now regretted the decision to comply with the Chinese Government's censorship, Brin responded: "It's really hard to say. I do think we helped some. Obviously it's impossible to replace history, and we made a pretty reasonable set of decisions at the time."

Microsoft was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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