Re: News or Editorial?
Thanks for reading, and for the constructive criticism. A few thoughts:
"'NSA Scandal.' Presumably you're referring to the greatest breach of national security in U.S. history?" Sure, you can call it that, if you want. Frankly, I think at this point that the "is all the surveillance justified" argument is well-trod ground. But I'll concede I could have referenced the rationale voiced by the NSA and other agencies, even if it's implicit. Nevertheless, I think "scandal" is appropriate. Even if you think the NSA's programs are necessary, was it not scandalous that a contract employee could single-handedly execute "the greatest breach of national security in U.S. history?" The word "scandal" can apply to both government overreach, or the incompetence with which it communicated top-secret information to people less trustworthy than their bosses supposed. Take your pick.
"If the numbers don't exist, let's drop this argument." That stat isn't beyond reproach, but it wasn't really presented like it was. The paragraph states that even though analysts were predicting huge revenue losses, many cloud companies have nevertheless achieved great momentum (while also continuing to refute some allegations). If there's any subtext there, it's that privacy concerns haven't stopped Microsoft, Google, Amazon et al from raking in the cash. The question is whether they'd be raking in more cash if the Snowden leaks hadn't occurred. The tech companies certainly say so. I received this statement today, for instance, from Carson Sweet, CEO of CloudPassage: "As we've worked with EU-based enterprises on cloud security, we've seen a marked drag in public cloud IaaS adoption as the result of privacy concerns. Most of our international customers lean toward private cloud adoption as a result, and many are waiting for non-US-based cloud providers before adoption public cloud IaaS." As your comment indicates, the tech companies aren't necessarily disinterested, so you can take their position with a grain of salt, but it's one thing to be skeptical, and another to say the concerns aren't worth discussing. The empirical, irrefutable numbers you seem to want might not exist yet, but I don't think you can just "drop" the concern.
Russia and China: The economic and political complexities among China, Russia and the United States are significant; my reference to "political theater" was meant to allude to sanctions and all the rest while maintaining a tight scope on this specific case-- but perhaps I chose too flippant a term. But even if those factors are significant, so are the governments' efforts to ditch Microsoft products. These efforts arguably use privacy concerns as an excuse to promote local agendas, so there's still some more political murkiness there. But I'll let you convince Microsoft CFO Amy Hood that, "The idea of shedding a tear over lost sales to either nation is laughable." I'll also let you convince the majority of Microsoft investors.
To be clear, I'm not debating your ethical stance here. But it's impractical to assume Microsoft will simply shrug and say, "Whatever, we don't care, China and Russia are run by people we don't like, so good riddance." Microsoft execs have repeatedly cited China as an essential growth market, and though the IT decisions of its government don't dictate the rhythms of the country's larger market, Microsoft doesn't find this topic "laughable."