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Google puts 'ball back in China's court'

March 23, 2010 07:02 AM ET

Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, says that saying it won't follow Chinese law may play well in the U.S., but not every country will look on it so happily.

"You have a choice to follow the laws in the countries where you do business," said Enderle. "Google has apparently decided to break the law. The law they are breaking isn't popular with the West. On the other hand, most governments don't particularly want to reward companies that break laws. It might become a habit. This will do a lot of damage to their potential in China and likely make other governments nervous about them."

Olds, however, said by all accounts he's seen, Google had negotiated in good faith with China.

"There is simply too much distance between what China will tolerate in terms of freedom and what Google was willing to do," he added. "Faced with the choice of buckling to China's demands or controlling its own business and destiny, it wasn't really much of a choice at all."

And Ezra Gottheil noted that Google appears to have left the door open for future negotiations between the two.

He pointed out that because Google continues to maintain Chinese language sites outside of China, the company would be return for a return at any time.

"Well, the door was open before and there's no reason for it to shut completely now," said Gottheil.

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.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at Twitter@sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed Gaudin RSS. Her e-mail address is

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