Desperate for content and out of ideas, Hollywood is rolling out rebooted and reimagined versions of franchises from the 1980s and 1990s. Decrepit heroes are battling villains who should have long since retired, whether it’s "Star Wars," "Alien," "Jurassic Park," "Ghostbusters," or even the interminable "Terminator" franchise.
And apparently, we need to add to the list of villains who won’t go away one William Henry Gates III.
Microsoft rose to prominence when those film franchises were still fresh. Although people were excited about how its technology could lead us on the road ahead, they were not necessarily thrilled with how that was being done. Bill Gates and his company had a horrible track record of dirty tactics, monopolistic business practices, abusive labor standards, tax evasion, domestic spying, and even blacklisting journalists.
Gates left the day-to-day operations of Microsoft many years ago in favor of “philanthropy” to draw attention to woke issues like climate change and transgenderism. But while Gates wants peasants like us to eat insects, his focus is the same as it ever was: empire-building.
And in the modern era, that means an alliance with the Chinese Communist Party.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a company marketing to consumers in China to expand markets. There is something wrong when you let the oppressive Communist Chinese government dictate company policy and stifle basic freedoms. The latter is exactly what is happening now with Microsoft’s expanded footprint in China.
The price of admission to the Chinese market is cooperation and capitulation. According to news reports, Microsoft is seeking to expand its sphere of influence in the Chinese real estate market, yet that expansion comes at a high price.
This is the woke two-step: Talk about “progressive” issues in Western nations, then turn around and help the Chinese Communist regime oppress people in ways unthinkable in the West. It’s like jangling a set of keys to distract a cat.
Apple is probably a worse offender here, with its sickening insistence about its great “corporate citizenship,” even as its Chinese manufacturers install suicide nets to stop unhappy workers from jumping. Second place probably goes to Disney for filming its forgettable Mulan remake down the street from the Uyghur concentration camps.
Meanwhile, the companies that aren’t kissing the Chinese ring in order to expand their business, Facebook and Google, are banned from operating in China because they won’t ban information from non-government-approved sources.
Those companies have had some real challenges, with conservatives accusing them of spiking accounts here in the United States. But at least they have not taken the path of Microsoft, which “has run a version of its Bing search engine in China since 2009 and frequently censors results at the government’s request.”
Censorship seems to be an acceptable price for Microsoft if it can make a buck in the Chinese real estate market. The company just ended the Chinese version of LinkedIn and replaced it with a sanitized version acceptable to Chinese censors. This fascist behavior increased even after the Chinese government cracked down on riots in Xinjiang.
Moreover, in 2021, as the world was suffering from the Chinese government’s Wuhan virus, Microsoft removed more than 1,100 pieces of online content at the request of the Chinese government, according to the company’s transparency report.
Much like a tired supervillain, dragged out of retirement to reboot an old movie franchise, Microsoft is still building its empire by crushing those in its path. It used to be mocking the U.S. court system, now it’s complying with the Chinese overlords to curry favor and increase profits. And its act of selling out to China isn’t just an immoral business strategy — it’s a threat to national security and the future of humanity.
Jared Whitley, an award-winning blogger, is a former congressional and White House staffer with experience working in the defense industry.