Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said his company intends to stay in business inside of China and obey the laws of that country, following Google's announcement that it is considering going home.
"We've been quite clear that we are going to operate in China, (and) we're going to abide by the law," Ballmer told CNBC following a meeting at the White House with President Obama on ways the government can use technology to cut costs. "Cyberattacks are an unfortunate way of life," he said.
Google's declaration that it might exit the Chinese market unless it's allowed to offer an uncensored search engine has rocked the technology and business world this week, putting pressure on its rivals to explain their position toward China. Google's actions came after it revealed that it was the target of a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google."
Microsoft had previously said that its e-mail system had not been breached, but had declined to comment on the broader question of its future in China.
Ballmer declined to directly address reports that a new unpatched vulnerability in Internet Explorer was partially to blame for the attacks on Google and other companies.
"If the issue is with us, we'll work through it with all the important parties. We have a whole team of people that responds very real-time to any report that it has something to do with our software, which we don't know yet."