Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. Or, as in today’s episode, talk our way through some big breaking news from the technology world so that we can better understand just what is going on.
Danny and Alex got together late Friday on a Twitter Space to discuss Microsoft’s decision to pull LinkedIn from the Chinese market, a move that lit up headlines around the world. That LinkedIn was still in China in 2021 may feel more surprising than the news that it will exit that particular market, but the moment matters all the same as it marks the end of an experiment — could a megatech company have a U.S. HQ and a first-party service live in China?
Er, no, it turns out. Not really.
Microsoft found itself jammed between its own ethics and governmental censure. It was a lose-lose for the company, so pulling the plug was the smart move. The company isn’t going to miss the revenue.
For startups, the Microsoft decision is a good reminder that doing business in China is at a minimum very hard for non-Chinese companies, and perhaps impossible. Recall that Microsoft had to work with a Chinese company (21Vianet) to get Azure into the country at all, and that the Chinese government is using a few companies to build a new OS for the country so that it can replace Windows.
Precisely how good that OS will prove is not yet clear, at least from a consumer perspective.
And then we riffed on GitLab’s IPO. My favorite topic of the week. You’ll see why it came up when you hit play. Chat Monday!