Google threatens to leave China after massive cyberattacks
The disturbing nature of the attacks, as well as what Drummond called "attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the Web" by Chinese authorities, gave the company pause, then led it to a decision.
"Any company in China has to constantly monitor the situation," said Harris of the CDT. "And at some point, it may be untenable. Google made that very clear when it went into China. It appears that Google has decided that the risks to their users and their own values outweigh the benefit of operating in China."
Harris declined to speculate on what impact a Google withdrawal from China would have on other technology firms that operate in the country -- both Microsoft and Yahoo, for instance, have a presence there -- but said she expected Google to face resistance if it did pull out. "I can't imagine this was an easy decision for them," she said. "They're certain to get push-back from some shareholders."
If Google does end up closing shop in China, Harris acknowledged that it would be a setback for the idea that Western companies could change China's position on issues such as human rights. "I don't think that [this idea] has had the impact we would have liked, but it has had a huge impact on access of information that China's citizens now have," she argued.
Like Drummond of Google, Harris noted that recent moves by the Chinese government have been hard to stomach. "They've become increasingly shrill about what a company makes available, who can have blogs and domains in the country," she said. "They've been piling on the restrictions."
But the battle isn't over, even if Google leaves, Harris said. "The fact is, [the Chinese government] cannot control all information. That's the hope we've always had, that at some point technology wins."
Drummond did not set a timetable for the discussions Google wants to have with Chinese authorities, or, failing a settlement agreeable to both sides, a deadline for any decision to withdraw from the country and shutter its search site.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed .
- Watch out Spotify; Google's building YouTube 'Music Key'
- Google goes after Amazon with same-day delivery
- Google offloads mystery barge to marine company
- Google's next frontier: What it means to be healthy
- Google updates the Maps Explore Nearby feature -- for some users
- Chrome gets sharp after dumping 30-year-old Windows technology
- Google moves closer to selling smart contacts
- Google goes mum on Glass release plans
- Samsung Gear Live vs. LG G Watch: A real-world evaluation
- Android Wear deep-dive review: A smart start to smartwatch software
Read more about E-business in Computerworld's E-business Topic Center.
- It's Not Them, It's You: How Customer Experience Impacts Your Identity and Access Management Practices Customers want more online access, but they also want to do less to get there: more mobility with less hassle. More security, but...
- 5 Reasons It's Time For Secure Single Sign-On While cloud-based applications provide many business benefits including lowering capital expenditures, they can also drive up operational expenses by requiring more administration and...
- Identity is the Center of Omnichannel This paper covers the benefits of adding an identity layer to bridge the gaps of simplified access, multiple entry points and authentication -...
- How to Extend Identity Security to Your APIs This paper discusses what these standards and specifications are, how they can be composed with existing standards like SAML, and details about how...
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center...
- Cloud BI in Action: Recorded Webinar of Customer, Kony, Inc. See how Kony, Inc., a leading enterprise mobility company, is using TIBCO Jaspersoft for Amazon Web Services and Redshift to achieve embedded analytics... All E-business White Papers | Webcasts