Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Google Technology

Google To Suspend Mobile Phone Launch In China 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the awaiting-further-developments dept.
An anonymous reader tips news that Google has decided to delay the launch of two mobile phones in China after the recent censorship conflict with the Chinese government. The phones were developed with Samsung and Motorola, and both of them run Android. A related article in BusinessWeek wonders whether Google's new stance on censorship will halt the progress Android is making in China, the world's largest mobile market. "The country was well on its way to helping Google exploit Android. Chinese handset makers such as Huawei and ZTE have been some of the earliest supporters of the upstart operating system. China Mobile already sells its own version of an Android-based phone system called OPhone. Motorola is making a big push into the Chinese market with smartphones based on the Android OS. And China's Lenovo has developed numerous Android-based products, including the LePhone. Any undue pressure from the establishment would mean that most of these companies would have to abandon Android in favor of other mobile operating environments."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google To Suspend Mobile Phone Launch In China

Comments Filter:
  • by jimbolauski (882977) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:04AM (#30818644) Journal
    Google is positioning itself so that their only two options will be to tuck their tail between their legs and do China's bidding or pull out and lose all the invested capital. China will not back down they will never let themselves appear weak.
  • by goldaryn (834427) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:05AM (#30818648) Homepage
    Google knew well that the decision to pull their search engine out of China would affect their other business interests there. They aren't dumb - they knew it well. Here they gave something up (some access the biggest potential market in the world) in order to stick to their guns. Their mantra is becoming more than just words.
  • by xgr3gx (1068984) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:06AM (#30818650) Homepage Journal

    Google should just say sorry China - you get no google anymore.
    Although it's hard to say no to market where 100 Million ad impressions is a slow day.

  • Re:in Japan... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:16AM (#30818760)

    Missed a step: US invasion and installation of democratic government.

    The PRC will certainly be a major player in the years to come, but unless they can work out their human rights abuses and their stance on things like Tibet they're only setting themselves up to pop like the USSR (or worse).

    You can't expect to educate AND oppress the plebs at the same time.

  • Gibson was right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dr.Syshalt (702491) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:23AM (#30818818)
    Now we can see the first open conflict between private corporation and a government.

    Just wait for the first armed one.
  • by metlin (258108) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:23AM (#30818820) Journal

    You underestimate the importance of MNCs and FDI if you think that this does not make a difference.

    Countries clamor for investment from top firms, and go a long way to accommodating them. China may be big, but they are just as dependent on such investments. If it were cut and dry, they would have given Google the finger a long, long time ago.

    If enough corporations started doing that, then other developing countries start looking ripe and interesting. It does not take much for a country to go from plum, juicy investment targets to stark and dangerous entities that no one would touch with a ten-foot pole.

    Just under ten years ago, the Asian economies were all the rage -- and before that, Latin American countries. China could just as easily be an also-ran if they pushed too hard. After all, even the USSR fell, for all its (supposed) might, and that's in recent memory.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:35AM (#30818930)

    Someone needed to teach China that just because they're the biggest single market in the world doesn't mean they dictate the laws that the rest of the world has to follow. In that respect China is no better than a monopolistic company, that's abusing its monopoly position.

    And when they've done with that, would they mind flying over to the US and teaching them the same thing?

  • by Tharsis (7591) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:40AM (#30818994)

    That really depends on your point of view. It's actually a pretty scary idea that google thinks it has enough power to change the governing policy of one of the biggest countries in the world. Sure, to our (western) point of view it makes a lot of sense to try to give citizens the freedom to express their opinion, but they ARE trying to infringe upon the sovereignty of a country. A country cannot work if they have to change their laws according to the wishes of a company.
    I cannot vote for Google, so they do not rule.

  • by krou (1027572) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:42AM (#30819030)

    Well, before we get on the love-Google bandwagon, it's equally possible that the threat of trade secrets/code being stolen, which could be passed on to a Chinese competitor, combined with Google's less than stellar market share in China, is a cost that far outweighs any possible gains by hanging on hoping the Chinese government throws them a few scraps. So, in order to turn a bad situation around, they state they're doing it because they object to the bad bad Chinese government, which helps in the PR department, and also applies pressure on Google's competitors like Bing/Yahoo etc. to do something similar.

    China may have the potential to be the biggest market in the world, but they're inherently protectionist, and actively protect local industry first. Nothing is going to change that until China is the most powerful economy on earth, at which point they may adopt the "free market" because they'll be in a position of dominance to ensure they always win. The British did it this way, and so did the Americans, I don't see why China should behave any different.

  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:43AM (#30819042) Journal
    You may have missed a whole series of antitrust cases in EU and US...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:46AM (#30819076)

    The decision to stop censoring was a direct result of Gmail-breakins. Now, you may believe Google got upset because the accounts included human rights activists, but I'd be more inclined to believe they just don't want their users to stop trusting their services and are trying to coerce the Chinese: would you trust your company emails with someone who gets hacked by the Chinese government regularly?

    In other words, I don't see anything that proves Googles position on the good-evil axis: just business as usual.

  • by oGMo (379) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:53AM (#30819158)

    It's actually a pretty scary idea that google thinks it has enough power to change the governing policy of one of the biggest countries in the world.

    This has not been shown to be the case. I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways. Does Google put their foot down, or don't they? Do they give into the local laws and help oppress, or don't they? I don't see Google invading China with corporate armies, or hacking Chinese government systems, or subverting Chinese government employees here.

    A country cannot work if they have to change their laws according to the wishes of a company.

    No, but a company is made up of people, and in a democracy, those people have a say in how the country is run, along with every other citizen. Perhaps you don't live in a country with a democratic form of government, or you don't value the freedom of each voice being heard. However, in the United States, we do value these things.

    But in the end it still comes down to one question: should Google support China's repressive government, or not? If you condemn them either way, you are a hypocrite. And you'll have to make a really, really good case for "should support repression" as being "not evil".

  • by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr&bhtooefr,org> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @10:58AM (#30819210) Homepage Journal

    A country cannot work if they have to change their laws according to the wishes of a company.

    Which is why the US is in the decline it's in, but that's another story.

  • by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:01AM (#30819240) Homepage

    It's actually a pretty scary idea that google thinks it has enough power to change the governing policy of one of the biggest countries in the world

    In the words of an individual who did have enough power to change the governing policy of one of the biggest countries in the world in the past; Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:18AM (#30819438) Journal

    Google is positioning itself so that their only two options will be to tuck their tail between their legs and do China's bidding or pull out and lose all the invested capital. China will not back down they will never let themselves appear weak.

    Google can afford to lose the investment. Until someone does make the sacrifice, everyone else is going to cave to China. When someone stands up to them, others will follow.

    But not selling in China is no big deal. They're make and sell what we won't sell them, even if they have to build it from pirated plans. What will make the difference is when someone refuses to buy from China. China will respond by shuttering, which will only propagate the intended cut-off: If you won't buy from us, we won't sell to you. Who's to suffer? Walmart shoppers?

    The marketplace, taken as a whole, has much more power than any government. If it decides to act as a whole, either they'll win, or everyone will lose with China losing far more.

    If Google doesn't do this, it'll be a long time before anyone does, if ever. So fuck China. If Google does this I'm prepared to back them by buying stock.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:23AM (#30819502)
    Indeed. This idea works only if everyone is idealistic as me.

    This is why I'm posting on /. and not aiming for a Management position; Too many morals.
  • Re:in Japan... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by javilon (99157) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:36AM (#30819672) Homepage

    We're not exactly out of Microsoft's clammy clutches yet.

    Not indeed. And I think a most important part of this story is Microsoft shutting up and taking it from the Chinese goverment, happily.

    That means that now when you use hotmail, or office live or msn, or any of the Microsoft web properties, there is a chance that not only the NSA and the US courts can access your data, but also unelected and corrupt Chinese officials.

  • by Sheik Yerbouti (96423) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:26PM (#30820418) Homepage

    This makes no sense they had like what 30% of search in China and 600MM a year in revenue. Yahoo Microsoft et al. have much much less than that and they see no need to walk away from China. They are the second largest search provider in China you don't walk away from that lightly and you don't run away when you are GAINING market share. So that's just tripe I can't see why people think this would be insightful at all.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:55PM (#30820818)

    This makes no sense they had like what 30% of search in China and 600MM a year in revenue. Yahoo Microsoft et al. have much much less than that and they see no need to walk away from China. They are the second largest search provider in China you don't walk away from that lightly and you don't run away when you are GAINING market share. So that's just tripe I can't see why people think this would be insightful at all.

    Remember they want to pull out because they're being hacked, and private data has been accessed. Not necessarily Google's data, but user's data. Stuff like emails in GMail, documents in Google Docs, and who knows what other data they may have gotten.

    Google feels that continuing operations in China would cost more (from the efforts in trying to secure the data) than simply pulling out and forgoing the revenue. Or, that if they continue, the continued hacking and theft of user's data would turn people off Google worldwide, hurting them even more. After all, would you continue to use Google if you knew your emails and documents are continually broken into and read by third parties? Now imaging you're using hosted apps by Google as a company - that Chinese competitor of yours might have an itchy finger for whatever emails and documents you have...

    So by pulling out, they may forego a huge market, but if it lets them keep users in other markets, it's still a win.

    It's less about search, and more about advertising. If people don't trust Google, they won't use Google. And this includes all those emails and documents on their servers.

  • by KlomDark (6370) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:57PM (#30820838) Homepage Journal

    Makes no sense? Are you serious?

    Yes, Matilda, there really ARE things more important than money... Societal survival, making sure your kids aren't enslaved, many things are more important than market share, and the inhumane corporations of the world are just starting to realize that.

    Try not acting like a mindless virus (Breed & Eat, Breed & Eat, ..., until your environment is destroyed), instead act like a self-aware lifeform that knows the secret to longevity is to not consume all, but to maintain a balance.

    Making money from bad people/governments leads to bad money in your pocket, sucking your lifeforce while you dive to the bottom of the abyss.

    Wake up! Before it's too late. Do not worship money for money's sake, if you must worship it, then worship it for it's power to enable good things to happen when handled by the wise.

    Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage? [Floyd]

  • by BiggoronSword (1135013) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:57PM (#30820844) Homepage Journal
    Oh, my! I'm sorry. My terrible pun offended you. Please forgive me. Thank you for pointing out this very insignificant mistake that really has nothing to do with my post. I have learned my lesson, and will never do it again.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:28PM (#30821314) Journal

    Well, I'm sorry, but if a company wants to operate in a country, it should abide by its laws, otherwise it's a criminal organization.

    And Google is doing just that - since they decided that they cannot in good conscience (or business sense, depending on who you ask) abide by those laws, they have pulled out.

    It's not up to that company to change the government, it's up to the people that live in the country.

    Absolutely. But people who live in the country may want said company to operate in their country, and if that company refuses to operate under their laws, change the laws accordingly. I don't see anything wrong with that. By no means this is "company in charge of a country".

  • Re:in Japan... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:38PM (#30821418) Journal

    The Chinese have one big advantage over the US: their government doesn't need to lie to anyone.

    What? They lie all the time, and do so in grandiose fashion. Just because they openly censor and spy on their own people does not mean that they are an honest regime. In fact, that itself is the problem ... by censoring information, they seek to rewrite history in terms favorable to their propaganda, which is by definition lying.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:04PM (#30821764) Journal
    Or you could get past the 'faceless corporation' meme and investigate what the actual people in charge of the company were thinking. According to this article, [wsj.com] Eric Schmidt (the CEO) was strongly in favor of doing business in China. He's primarily a businessman, he sees the monetary potential, and he argued they could do good there.

    Sergey Brin, who was born in the former USSR, has more personal feelings about censorship and human rights issues. He was never entirely in favor of doing business in China, but went along with it. When this happened, he wanted to stop doing business in China.

    Estimates are that Google makes $300 million to $600 million in China, so while it's not going to break the bank, they are taking a hit from this. If they wanted to do the financially intelligent thing, they would keep operations in China (if they really have concerns about intellectual property, they can keep all that in the US and segregate their employees in China from the US).

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries

Working...