Google may soon leave China, reports say
China said to tell local news sites that its negotiations with Google are crumbling
Computerworld - Both Google Inc. and the Chinese government appear to be leaking word that the search firm may soon shutter its operations there as negotiations between the two break down.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Chinese government has begun informing news Web sites in that country that Google's Chinese site is likely to close soon.
Google first threatened to halt its operations in China after disclosing in January that an attack on its network from inside China was aimed at exposing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. At the time, Google also said it was reconsidering its willingness to censor search results of users in China as required by the government.
Google has since been negotiating with the Chinese government to find a way to continue operating in the country. Google did not respond today to requests for comment on the state of the negotiations with China.
"I think Google thought China would be flexible," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "As the U.S. government has often found, flexibility isn't something you generally look for in China with regard to Western ideas of what human rights should be. This is China playing hardball, and it once again would indicate that when you negotiate with a government, you are generally at a massive disadvantage."
Google's continuing stand against China has been met mostly with support from industry watchers, who say it is helping the search giant has overcome the major hit in good will it's taken in recent years by ceding to China's censorship demands.
Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said the latest reported statements on the negotiations probably indicate that there's been a major rift between the two sides.
"I think that the latest reports we're hearing about Google leaving China signal an authentic breakdown in talks rather than typical posturing," Olds said.
"From what I'm seeing, there has been a long-term philosophical conflict at Google ever since they decided to play by the Chinese government's rules on search. I think Google's stand on principal now, is in large part fueled by their discomfort in agreeing to play the role of censor in the first place. It's goes against their fundamental belief in freedom of information and the social good arising from that," he added.
If Google does leave China, Microsoft could be hit harder by critics of its decision not to censor search results in China.
Microsoft executives have made clear of late that the company will remain in China no matter what the resolution of Google's battle with the government there.
While Enderle said that Microsoft shouldn't suffer too much ill will from staying in China and continuing to censor search results, Olds suggested that the company could be pummeled by bad press.
"Google leaving China while Microsoft stays and, assumedly, continues to cooperate with the government by censoring content may certainly bring some bad press to Microsoft," added Olds. "No one argues that China censoring the Internet is a good thing or that it is within their rights, but companies have complied with this requirement in order to get a piece of the massive and growing Chinese market. If Microsoft continues to run censored search for China, I would expect to hear plenty of widespread criticism -- some of it perhaps even fueled by Google."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
Web giants attacked
- White House orders security review in wake of WikiLeaks disclosure
- Leaked U.S. document links China to Google attack
- Update: Researchers track cyber-espionage ring to China
- Google, China now playing cat and mouse?
- McAfee: 'Amateur' malware not used in Google attacks
- Military warns of 'increasingly active' cyber-threat from China
- China: Google 'totally wrong' to stop censoring
- Update: Google stops censoring in China
- Google's China ad partners wait in 'incomparable pain'
- Google may soon leave China, reports say
Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.
This pilot fish is a contractor at a military base, working on some very cool fire-control systems for tanks. But when he spots something obviously wrong during a live-fire test, he can't get the firing-range commander's attention.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Reduce federal infrastructure risk with compliance management and situational awareness
- IBM continuous monitoring and management solutions deliver real-time situational awareness to help federal agencies understand vulnerabilities, and protect the infrastructure.
- Mission Critical: Managing Mobile Applications & Content
- Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become embedded in enterprise processes, thanks to the consumerization of IT and a new generation of...
- Securing Mobility, From Device to Network
- At one time, the process of managing and securing mobile devices and applications was fairly straightforward. Most organizations worried about one application (email)...
- Planning for Mobile Success
- Many organizations are seeing clear and quantifiable benefits from the deployment of mobile technologies that provide access to data and applications any time,...
- The Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Application Development
- Nearly all business users now demand mobile devices--their own or company-owned--along with anywhere access to corporate applications and data. What turns mobile devices... All Government IT White Papers
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their...
- DevOps with PureApplication System: Reduce cost and speed delivery with an integrated IBM Cloud solution Join this webcast to hear what ING Netherlands has been able to achieve while deploying DevOps tools from IBM Rational. An ING executive...
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope...
- All Government IT Webcasts