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By Heather Mowbray / Aug 10, 2020 09:04 PM / Trending Stories

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What’s trending?

In light of recent U.S. edicts from the Trump administration regarding Chinese tech companies, Weibo was awash with rumors on Sunday that MicrosoftWillCeaseToSupplyChina. The hot topic was viewed 44 million times by Monday as netizens scoured the internet for points of friction that have yet to break the surface amid fraught U.S.-China relations.

What’s the story?

Microsoft’s service agreement says that if the U.S. government prohibits Microsoft from providing software to any Chinese enterprise, institution or individual, Microsoft will not be held responsible. In such a situation, deemed “force majeur” by Microsoft, they would stop providing services.

According to the original rumor posted on Sunday, Microsoft had rushed through an update following Tiktok and WeChat reverberations in recent weeks, suggesting that the software giant had the latest events in their sights as they factored in the risks of doing business in China.

On Monday, Sina reported that Microsoft had indeed updated the service agreement on its official website, but that the clause in question had not been altered since the service agreement was first published in July 2019 and came into force on Aug. 30 that year. The clause in question did reference the risk that Microsoft would be unable to provide services to China if the U.S. government prohibited them from doing so, but it was not new.

On Monday, the self-media site Huanqiu.com received a response to a request for comment in which the company spokesperson insisted that Microsoft’s “commitment to its Chinese customers is unwavering.”

What are people saying online?

“I think we should make preparations either way. Commitment is a weak proposition if it comes from the American government” was one of the top comments on the response to the rumor published by Huanqiu.com. Weibo users doubt any company could do much if the government ordered them to stop serving their Chinese customers, even for Microsoft with its long history in the country.

Contact editor Michael Bellart (michaelbellart@caixin.com)

Related: Cover Story: TikTok’s Ticking Clock in Trump Faceoff

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