The Foundation is particularly renowned for its efforts in public health. Whether this was the focus of their discussions or whether Microsoft issues specifically, and high technology more generally, were also considered, is anyone’s guess and Kat-readers are invited to reach their own conclusions. That said, it is worthwhile recounting several of the recent developments mentioned in the piece that arguably served as the back-story for this meeting, the common denominator of which is the increasingly more challenging environment that US high tech companies are finding when dealing with China:
The Gates visit to China is only one more piece of this moving puzzle as China seeks to assert is identity on the way that technology is developed, transferred and protected. This Kat has the sense that the story will only take on increasing importance in the months and years to come. Stay tuned.
2. A week or so earlier, U.S. high tech groups were in communications with Chinese official about the same issue.
3. There is a general concern that Chinese regulators, most notably competition and tax regulators, are targeting U.S. concerns. In that connection, Microsoft is the focus of an investigation by the competition authority.
4. Further, a Microsoft subsidiary in China was hit in November 2014 with a charge of $140 million dollars for back taxes in what is described as “cross-border tax evasion in China.”