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Google vs China

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 7:55 PM on March 24, 2010

If you are a business working in a countries whose policy you disagree with, do you follow those policies and try to change them from the inside, or do you leave . If you remain in the country there is no guarantee that you will have any impact on policy, but there is a small chance. If you leave and you are alone in walking out then your impact will be strictly symbolic. That is the problem with Google’s decision to close down their search engine in China. Microsoft and Yahoo have steadfastly followed Chinese guidelines on censorship and there is no indication they are following Google’s lead. In fact both companies, especially Microsoft have been extremely quiet on the subject.

Let’s be clear Google decision alone will have little impact on China in the end. However that doesn’t make it the wrong decision on Google’s part. Someone has to be the first to stand up and say no, when things are not right. Sergey Brin, the cofounder of Google knows this better then most. He spent his first six years under Soviet rule and is aware how totalitarianism works. An article in the Wall Street Journal confirmed what I had thought, that their decision had a lot to do with his early life in the Soviet Union and how his family was treated. It appears that at least one company Go Daddy is following Google’s lead, announcing today that they are no longer selling cn domain names. They decided this after the Chinese government asked for information about the those who were registering the domains.

Hopefully, more companies will follow Google’s and Go Daddy’s lead. I can’t think of anytime in history, where a company has impacted a country’s policy by remaining in the country. If a company works in a country they are required to follow the lows of that country. However, the boycott of South Africa, protesting apartheid clearly did have an impact overtime. Hopefully other companies will follow Google’s and Go Daddy’s lead in China. Lets face it though Google has enough money that they can afford to make a decision like this, most companies can’t afford to ignore the Chinese market. As long as remaining in China has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line very few companies will follow Google’s or Go Daddy’s lead. Do you think Google and Go Daddy made the right decision or not