Thursday, January 14, 2010
Google's announcement that it might leave China because of Chinese spying is a PR coup for the company. However, it might be bad business in the short and long run. To abandon China would be to walk away from what will be the largest internet population on earth. The question Google has to answer is whether it can afford to sacrifice that much business. One would like to think Google can find an accommodation with the Chinese government. On the other hand, if the sophisticated hacking has been coming from government-sponsored teams, it would be dangerous for the entire company and for Google's customers to remain. There is no good answer to this situation. Google should stick to principle, but that means admitting defeat. Sometimes in business one can't win, and that seems to be the case here. On the other hand, should Google walk out of China, it will be a warning to every other software and hardware company to tread carefully. There is good chance one will lose far more in the country than what one might gain.