January 25, 2006

Google Capitulates

Ian at Banana Oil is closer to Chinese Google than I am, but he wonders whether anybody at the hypervalued company has read Sun Tzu:

Abject surrender is not the way to foster cultural change for the better.

And don't think for a moment that this will be regarded as a move of strength or integrity. The Chinese will not respect you for this. Read The Art of War. They won, and got you to give them the victory on a silver platter. You are now the Communist government's bitch, whether you know it or not.

Way to go, guys.

I join the blogosphere in disappointment, but I cannot work up the high dudgeon. I wish Google had given the ChiComs a lecture; I wish Microsoft had told the EU to fuggedabout it instead of phony gestures such as hobbled versions and limited source distribution.

But both Google and Microsoft have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders that must supersede a company's desire to change the world. I'd say the same to Ben & Jerry.

In the case of China, I have to think the more information the merrier. The more people on even a bowdlerized Internet, the better chance that the benefits of freedom -- if not Falun Gong movements -- will be understood.

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at January 25, 2006 6:25 PM

What works people up about Google is that their corporate motto was "Don't be evil."

Selling out to the red Chinese is a pretty big step in that direction, I'd say.

While I understand the fiduciary responsibility, can't a corporation have ethics? (damn, i sound like a dirty hippie)

Like not selling out to frigging communists?

Posted by: AlexC at January 26, 2006 2:59 PM

My opinion is certainly in the minority. While like most West-coasties their bumper-sticker credos do match reality, I guess if you consider filtering results on a search engine to be "evil," then I am wrong.

The ChiComs do a lot of real evil -- keeping one of its unfortunate subjects away from the edifying prose of ThreeeSources.com is a pity but not a piori evil.

My hope continues to be that as the Internet becomes more prevalent, more Chinese citizens find ways around the filters and that the volume of information becomes more than the officials can monitor.

The fiduciary responsibility does not supersede everything but I believe strongly that you are obligated to devote your efforts to increasing shareholder value.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2006 4:18 PM | What do you think? [2]