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Google To Suspend Mobile Phone Launch In China

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the awaiting-further-developments dept.

Cellphones 172

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."

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in Japan... (1, Offtopic)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818612)

40 years ago, "made in Japan" meant a cheap, cheerful, somewhat unreliable clone. They had the technology to manufacture, but not the skill to manufacture reliably, nor the smarts to create. Then they became the cloning heroes, making faithful and reliable Western designs... and today, they innovate.

China is currently at stage 2.5, building whatever the West can throw at it, and making gradual improvements. What do you think will happen when they develop an intellectual property economy to rival the West?

Enjoy your hubris, Google, as Microsoft once enjoyed its level of control.

Re:in Japan... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818640)

...as Microsoft once enjoyed its level of control.

Jumping the gun a little, there.
We're not exactly out of Microsoft's clammy clutches yet.

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

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819672)

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.

Re:in Japan... (1)

orlanz (882574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820250)

...also unelected and corrupt Chinese officials.

Who apparently are far far worse than unelected and corrupt TSA, FBI, and boarder crossing personnel.

Re:in Japan... (2, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818750)

Pointing out the strength of the Chinese in the world economy and making comparisons to other far Eastern nations in recent history is not off topic. This isn't a question of withdrawing from some random authoritarian state which needs Google investment and expertise, this is about getting into a spat with the largest manufacturing centre in the world, without which we wouldn't all have the cheap PCs and mobile devices that give Google such a market.

Consider where China could be in the next 20 or 30 years if it starts to adopt Western discipline in intellectual property. It has already got this far without abandoning many of its restrictive principles. Moreover, great advancement has been achieved in many centralised states... never mind, this would be implying that the Google capitalistic hero of the day is not inevitably going to win for life, so I'm fighting a losing battle.

Re:in Japan... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30818948)

Everything you say is correct, but perhaps you don't post to Slashdot very often. Moderation is almost always abused to indicate agreement/disagreement. As you have noted, your opinion speaks in favour of China's progress and against Google's. You would be no better off trying to defend the practices of the Catholic Church in a discussion on historical scientific progress (even the ones that resulted in preservation of pre-mediaeval documents and that gave the spark to the Renaissance - I have tried!).

It doesn't matter how much information you provide, or whether your ideas are relevant; it just matters whether your argument gives succour to the right team. Welcome to truth by democracy: have you also visited Wikipedia?

Re:in Japan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819336)

It's pretty hard to overlook the fact that China has been egregiously abusing environmental rights, human rights, intellectual property rights, business rights; you name it and their government bends it over and does what it wants to it. Trying to downplay that and make Google look like the gorilla who is taking its toys and going home is pretty ignorant, no matter what side you are on. If the post were a little better balanced it might have not been modded into oblivion.

Re:in Japan... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819490)

Are you even reading the same site as me? Read through 100 random well-moderated Slashdot posts to see whether they are "balanced". Each comment exists to make a particular point, not to present a balanced summary of all views.

Everyone agrees that China egregiously abuses environmental, human, intellectual property and business rights, but you don't need to shout "also, Satan is evil!" everytime you are discussing Satan, as if respecting some sort of religious protocol. The point is that "Satan" is becoming ever more powerful, and would carry on just fine without one particular gorilla. Big businesses familiar with Chinese political culture have been doing business in China since before Page and Brin were born.

(And appreciate the sentiment, AC. It appears I have "excellent" karma, probably because I normally do not start new discussions but get involved in long threads where people are less interested in moderating and more in discussing.)

Re:in Japan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819724)

Maybe your nickname is off-putting.

Re:in Japan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819262)

Here is the reason you are modded down (I have mod points, trust me I know). You are completely ignoring the fact that the 'intellectual property economy' that they are headed for is the exact thing that google wants them to have today, and their lack of support for it is why they are on the brink of abandoning their business in china. When a state government encourages IP theft and allows just enough freedom for individuals to be dangerous, but not enough for a true free market to emerge, there is no reason for a company who does play by the rules to hang around.

While I don't have much background in Japanese history, I think their lack of such a culture of corruption encouraged outside investment in both labor and technology. China doesn't deserve outside investment if they are going to steal whatever they want anyway.

Re:in Japan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819324)

None of what you have said above is a justification for marking the OP as off topic, is it? You don't moderate someone down because you think you have a good counterargument (which I happen to consider inadequate, but that is neither here nor there - I wouldn't moderate you down for that). You moderate someone down because they are off topic, flamebait, troll, or have been overrated by another form of moderation.

Re:in Japan... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819792)

It was offtopic. China dose not foster a climate in which innovation will thrive. Japan != China. What if I said "Google better watch out. A long time ago Mars had water!" WTF? One has nothing to do with the other. Just like Japans situation has nothing to do with Chinas.

Re:in Japan... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819904)

At the risk of repeating myself:

What do you think will happen when they develop an intellectual property economy to rival the West?

China could simply do that... and on its own terms, because of its clout thanks to manufacturing capability and owed $.

I mean, it is quite trivial to argue that a US style notion of intellectual property is not necessary for innovation. China could just enforce the GPL as the only form of intellectual property right, for example - I'm not going to provide an argument for the GPL as a good foundation for innovation, because it has been provided thousands of times over the past two decades on the Internet.

Actually, I'm not even asserting that the GPL alone is satisfactory, merely illustrating to you that there is nothing off topic about suggesting that China can build its own notion of intellectual property. It needs "Western discipline" in applying whatever notion it chooses, i.e. it needs the rule of law, but it does not need Western notions. Indeed, the founding Fathers did not even believe in the notion of intellectual property: knowledge and the expression of knowledge was something naturally without ownership, but to which authors were granted temporary monopoly for the advancement of sciences and the useful arts. The United States was in fact very late in adopting the Berne Convention, the clear dividing line between a constitutional approach towards intellectual creativity and one based on the idea of ideas and expressions as property.

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:in Japan... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819066)

enjoy your moderation. slashdotters fear China likes the US government fears Muslims. they tk r jerb on the shopfloor, and the same thing is beginning to happen in R&D.

Re:in Japan... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819372)

What happens when they build an intellectual property economy based on nothing but stolen intellectual property, you ask? It is inevitable, but that doesn't mean Google has to like it. They are smart to keep their treasure to themselves; the more they expose by doing business in China, the more will just get stolen and used against them. China has expressed no interest in protecting IP rights, why should Google just roll over and say 'well it will happen eventually, why not sacrifice all my IP in the mean time?'

Re:in Japan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819782)

I am still waiting for the algorithms that they promised 12 years ago, in return for which geeks enthusiastically promoted this up-and-coming new search engine with an apparent focus on usability and technical brilliance.

A gentleman's agreement may not always be legally binding, but it is no less dishonourable to break it.

Re:in Japan... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819890)

"China is currently at stage 2.5, building whatever the West can throw at it, and making gradual improvements. "

Citations? What have they improved? Examples, or it ain't so. There is NOTHING that China makes that I can't buy "Made in" India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Pakistan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, or SOMEPLACE, better made. The ONLY thing China seems to have the corner on is CHEAP LABOR, and CHEAP PRODUCTS. They've not improved one damned thing that has been handed to them.

Why do people make such idiot comments, and launch me into yet another rant?

China has 1/4 the world's population, and I think they have the largest land mass of any country in the world. But, all of it together is worth about as much as the frigging Rhine Valley, or maybe the Missourri River Valley, or - I quit. Figure it out for yourself.

Re:in Japan... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820058)

I think you misunderstand capitalism. The aim is to produce something sufficiently good at a price that enough people can afford. The fact that there is probably a manufacturer in the United States able to build absolutely anything you want at arbitrarily good quality providing you are prepared to pay enough does not mean that every other country in the world is irrelevant.

As for those gradual improvements, do you have some romantic image of the wise white men visiting a village of peasants with tools and precise layouts and firmware, and suddenly Foxconn is born? Just as with Japan up to the '80s, the improvements in China are in manufacturing process and firmware.

Backing themselves into corner (4, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818644)

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.

Re:Backing themselves into corner (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30818814)

They do have a third option.

The so called "great firewall" isn't all that great. It's pretty cobbled together, and distributed. The bulk of the censoring is temporary, achieved by inspecting packets and then spamming the end points with reset packets.
If you've ever used the internet in China, then you might have had a web page begin to load, but then stall. If you reload you get nothing, until around 10 min later when the RST spam stops, and the cycle repeats.

Google should switch on SSL for all Chinese traffic (including ad impressions). Google won't appear weak, and China will have to use the evil card and IP block. China has plenty of google loving geeks, and they will notice.

Re:Backing themselves into corner (5, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819438)

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.

"Don't be evil" is put to the test (4, Insightful)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818648)

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.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30818764)

Sure, it may be the "biggest potential market in the world" but it's not exactly the sort of market you want to perform business in. There are many, many costs that aren't always obvious. And as Google has found out, it may just not be worth the hassle.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (1)

Gription (1006467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819136)

If you look at the displayed behavior of corporations "the sort of market you want to perform business in" is defined as anywhere that they can make money. The fact that their only real goal is maximization of shareholder value is very clear, as it is required by law and constantly enforced by shareholder lawsuits.

I would suggest that an emerging industrial economy containing more then 1/6th of the worlds population and with an obvious needs for communication is a market where they could make money by the megatruckload.

I think that the assertion that this is an example of them sticking to their 'moral guns' is reasonably defensible.

[By definition corporations don't have morals as they do not have a conscience. Morals are specific to a human's thoughts, feelings, and actions but we can attempt to judge a corporation's actions against our own moral code.]

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819732)

Google is advertizing company. Google business model only works when:

a) people pay then to advertize product.
b) people buy product as advertized and make money to a) people.

This does not work for China: Chinese company will pay to Baidu to advertize because it has highest market coverage. China does not import much, so Google can not make business with anyone else than Chinese companies (which will rather make business with Baidu which can actually give em customers.).

Simply, Google business model breaks when they have no customers (duh.). Their usual business partners have no *chance* making good deal in china with help of internet ads, and new ones will not work with them because they already have better option.

The fact that it has 1/6th world of population and market ripe for exploitation is irrelevant if you are not the one that can exploit it. I am that tampax would LOVE to sell their product to 1/2 of world population (men), but it is simply impossible.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819142)

When "business" means manufacturing phones as cheaply as possible, it's an excellent environment.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (3, Insightful)

Tharsis (7591) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Not really it doesn't. (5, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 4 years ago | (#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".

Re:Not really it doesn't. (2, Interesting)

Tharsis (7591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819844)

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.

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. It's not up to that company to change the government, it's up to the people that live in the country. There are more ways than those you mention for a company to force its wishes on a government (MS has used some).
I'm not saying I agree with what China is doing. But I also don't think it a good idea to force my ideas of freedom on them, if there's anything that causes chaos in a country it's sudden changes like that. I'd say China has been doing a pretty good job of slowly creating a more free country.

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.

I do value these things (and I do live in a democratic country) but I do not have the wisdom to say that it is better than all other forms of government, and neither do you unless you've lived in them. Basically what I'm saying is that it should be the people that change a country, not an outside company. Where's the democracy in an outside company forcing a change.

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".

Stop thinking so binary. Just because one is "evil" doesn't mean the other is "good". There are a lot more options than the ones you mention.

Re:Not really it doesn't. (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820266)

I don't think "refusing to do business" equates to "changing the government"

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (2, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819210)

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.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (5, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819240)

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.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (3, Interesting)

orlanz (882574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820406)

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.

Come on, is it really that scary? I mean we got the farm, auto, finance, telco, and security industries doing this every day over here and we are more scared of the mythical terrorist. Its about time one of our industries (search) starts poking at someone else left with a spine... even if they end up losing a finger.

I think we are all making this seem FAR bigger than it actually is. A company has reassessed the risk profile of an environment and found it to be not suitable to justify continuing operations. Said company is looking at mitigating some of the risk. If it doesn't work out, the company will revisit the _idea_ of discontinuing operations. Losing China will not be that big a deal to Google as the environment was against it in the first place.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (4, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820224)

Android is open source. Some of Google's applications are closed, but they have had just as many problems with people in western countries including the applications in their custom firmware builds, as in China. Furthermore, China can reverse engineer the applications just as easily whether the phone is sold there or not. It is possible that Google had some Chinese employees working on localization who had access to the code, which would increase the chance of stolen code, but it is equally likely that the coding was all done in the states, and the localization teams in china just provided translations and testing.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (4, Insightful)

Sheik Yerbouti (96423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820418)

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.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:"Don't be evil" is put to the test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819248)

It's beyond my imagination, why Google will hold it. If they get people to use more google phones, they will have more control over the information than the Chinese government. If it's a matter of overpowering something, then they should in fact release it and do it in such way that they could mess several businesses there and gain more power.

Unluckily, Google is not such an evil company.

Yoink!....No Google for you China (2, Insightful)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818650)

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:Yoink!....No Google for you China (2, Informative)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818712)

Although it's hard to say no to market where 100 Million ad impressions is a slow day.

That's exactly the problem right there. It boils down to this: Google needs China more than China needs Google. So China can do whatever they want and Google will always have to either accept it, or quit.

Re:Yoink!....No Google for you China (5, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818840)

Google needs China more than China needs Google.

But in reality, China doesn't need Google, and Google doesn't need China.

I for one am thankful to see anyone not tuck tail and say Thank You Sir May I Have Another when China kicks them in the balls.

Google's rep and their Do No Evil took a major hit recently with concessions to China, and Google had basically said this is IT this is as far as we will go, and China just continued to push it, and Google has finally had enough and is playing hardball. Good for them, have at it.

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.

Re:Yoink!....No Google for you China (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:Yoink!....No Google for you China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819056)

That's called a monopsony.

Re:Yoink!....No Google for you China (1)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819454)

China is the biggest growing market. They're not the biggest single market. A lot of people without resources to buy your stuff isn't terribly useful.

Re:Yoink!....No Google for you China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30820194)

"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"

Hmm a noun and an qualifier change and that sentence would be very good self advice.

Re:Yoink!....No Google for you China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30820232)

Teach them what exactly? That they can abuse even the likes of Google as they please until they give up and run home crying?
I'd imagine they are laughing all the way to their pilfered information stash.

I can't believe there are people here acting like it was Google's obligation to do this: Google is getting the butt end of the stick in this in a big way. And China really couldn't care less because nobody uses Google products over there. What exactly is there of value to China that Google has, that they couldn't just rip off or make a knock off of easily?

But I do like your analogy of China being like a monopolistic company. Maybe if we look at China like we do Microsoft, we can think of measures can to combat the situation.
Because quite honestly, this situation looks a whole lot like Apple deciding not to work with Bill Gates back in the day.

Honestly, I think the only way anything will happen is if China is made to look stupid on the international front, such as with solid proof being used as political mockery.
Something like, "LOLPWNT POSER" and the whole world snickering about how all they can do is steal other people's ideas.

Re:Yoink!....No Google for you China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819448)

I'm willing to bet 100 million ad impressions in China is worth a helluva lot less then 100 million ad impressions in Western countries...

Re:Yoink!....No Google for you China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819560)

Google doesn't need china. Google has grown without China and continue to do so. Infact this is how all big corporate should do to open up the peoples rights. Love you Google.

Re: and lose intellectual property (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819200)

I live near alcatel, and about 90% of their workers are Indians or Chinese. China is digging their heels into large techie companies in the west.

That'll teach those Commies a lesson (1)

axl917 (1542205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818664)

Surely this will bring about regime change if the Chinese are forced to, er, buy someone else's cellphone.

Yea. :/

Re:That'll teach those Commies a lesson (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818820)

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.

Re:That'll teach those Commies a lesson (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818904)

Those are some very good points. Regardless how important or self absorbed a country may think about its style of government... money and its sources has always been key roles. As you note, there is a lengthy list of also-ran countries that once thought their poo did not stink.

Dumb question (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818708)

Are the android phones manufactured in China ?

Re:Dumb question (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818766)

Most in Taiwan ... not China's favourite place

Re:Dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30818768)

of course, everything else is.

Re:Dumb question (1)

indre1 (1422435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818782)

Yes, new google phones are produced under the codename Eno Suxen and rebranded in the US.

Re:Dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30818894)

codename Eno Suxen and rebranded in the US.

Google is producing in Russia??

DEFEND CHINA (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818710)

FOR UNCONDITIONAL MILITARY DEFENSE OF THE DEFORMED WORKERS STATES IN CHINA, CUBA, VIETNAM AND NORTH KOREA!

Defend, extend the Chinese revolution! For genuine soviet democracy -- for an internationalist Leninist-Trotskyist communist party! Oust the Stalinist bureaucrats who open the door to imperialist counterrevolution! "Socialism in one country" means capitalist counterrevolution -- for international socialist revolution!

Down with the hypocritical "human rights" campaign against China by the butchers of Baghdad and Kabul! No to the imperialist "democratic" drive toward war! Down with the Democrats and Republicans, parties of imperialist war and racism! Forge a revolutionary workers party! Reforge the Fourth International, world party of proletarian revolution! Workers of the world, unite!

Re:DEFEND CHINA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819278)

Perhaps you should consider switching to decaf.

They have to be careful ... (2, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818754)

They have to be careful. After all the android is open source and China certainly has the capability of making their own mobile phones [wikipedia.org] . If they don't sell in China, China could just make its own Android, and use the economies of scale to export it to the West too. This threat is a bit like a Scotsman saying he won't sell his whiskey in Nashville

Re:They have to be careful ... (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818834)

They have to be careful. After all the android is open source and China certainly has the capability of making their own mobile phones [wikipedia.org] . If they don't sell in China, China could just make its own Android, and use the economies of scale to export it to the West too. This threat is a bit like a Scotsman saying he won't sell his whiskey in Nashville

If China starts rolling out Android OS phones on their own, this won't hurt them directly.

Google isn't looking at making money hand over first through Nexus One sales.

They're looking at making Android OS a major player in the mobile device market, to replace Symbian and Windows Mobile and slow/stop the momentum of the iPhone OS.

Their big thing with rolling out the Nexus One is that they want to start setting a standard for what an Android phone should be: both in hardware and the configuration of the OS. Carriers and manufacturers are making short-sighted decisions with their Android configs in such a way that isn't making Google happy. They're making them hard / impossible to update the OS and varying configurations make apps run inconsistently.

Now if Chinese companies started making huge lines of horribly-configured Android phones then that would hurt Google, but would they really bother doing something financially unsound just to spite them a little all-the-while letting their presence in the mobile market increase?

Gibson was right (4, Insightful)

Dr.Syshalt (702491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818818)

Now we can see the first open conflict between private corporation and a government.

Just wait for the first armed one.

Re:Gibson was right (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819042)

You may have missed a whole series of antitrust cases in EU and US...

Re:Gibson was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30820036)

EU vs Microsoft is/was a series of legal actions.

China vs Google is a series of economic and cyber-warfare actions.

Very different.

Re:Gibson was right (3, Interesting)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820092)

You may have missed a whole series of antitrust cases in EU and US...

That's the point. In every other case of government-corporate head butting, the corporation may have complained loudly (sometimes in court) but never before has one just said, "No, we won't play by your rules."

Re:Gibson was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819078)

Like, you know, that whole EAST INDIA COMPANY CENTURIES AGO. Maybe you've heard of them.

An interesting fact (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818822)

I don't know if this is a new finding. I've noticed this today:

rms@susebox:~> geoiplookup www.google.cn

GeoIP Country Edition: US, United States

I expected it to be hosted in China.

Re:Another interesting fact (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818940)

that relates to your sig is that open source rescues formats, protocols, specifications and standards.

Off-topic, but let me explain (0, Troll)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819406)

open source rescues formats, protocols, specifications and standards.

Not quite true. At most, theoretically true. The most popular open-source file-systems, Ext2 and Ext3 don't have official specification of the on-disk data structures. Many drivers that are part of mainline Linux kernel have code based on closed specs. RedHat's popular open-source clustering file-system, GFS doesn't have public specs.

Re:Off-topic, but let me explain (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820094)

Download the Linux kernel and take a look at the source. I recommend you start with the Documentation directory.

Re:An interesting fact (1)

iamsolidsnk (862065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818974)

I believe the .cn site was hosted in Florida at the time of The Incident and supposed compromising of Gmail accounts.

Re:An interesting fact (1)

msu320 (1084789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819004)

your probably missing the fact that google uses tech that changes the result of a dns query based on your IP. It's similar to the stuff akami uses, and it helps reduce the effect on latency. most likely the servers you're connecting to are mirrors.

Re:An interesting fact (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819192)

I'm from India. Assuming what you are saying is correct, the output implies that google.cn doesn't have a mirror in China, because geographically India is closer to China than to US.

Google is Bluffing (0)

BiggoronSword (1135013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818880)

I have a good feeling Google is bluffing. I think Google is making such a big stink about this to finally show the Chinese citizens that they're getting their shit pushed in by Uncle Sam-urai. Even if China does call their bluff, I'm not sure if will actually do anything in terms of a revolt, but it sure puts a dent in the idea of The Great Firewall of China.

samu-rai? yet you got +1???? (1)

Petkov (1011081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819048)

/. is shit.

Re:Google is Bluffing (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819074)

I think that Google can't accept that their own offices in China are spied on by the government. It is this issue that makes them consider to get out of China but before living, they wanted to do a last PR shot by uncensoring their search results (btw, 48h later, google.cn was filtered from China). They acknowledge that the CCP will not accept the fact that any foreign company can make profits on their territory. Google is just pulling out. With style.

Re:Google is Bluffing (1, Funny)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819300)

Uncle Sam-urai?

Really?

Samurai aren't even Chinese. Where's the -1 Ignorant?

after the recent censorship conflict (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30818888)

> after the recent censorship conflict with the Chinese government
I thought it was a corporate espionage issue? Maybe the author's brain short-circuited... China = censorship.

China is not the largest market in the world! (1)

dublinclontarf (777338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818892)

Seriously, 1.3Billion seems like a lot, but 1/2 are peasants and most earn a pittence. See here http://my.telegraph.co.uk/dublinclontarf/blog/2010/01/15/china,_the_worlds_largest_market [telegraph.co.uk] .

Re:China is not the largest market in the world! (1)

alobar72 (974422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819270)

there is an interesting comment from a guy named sipu on this page. Basically stating, that china _is_ the worlds biggest market, _because_ of the poor, that do not have cellphones, cars, tvs and such by now, but will buy them in future, as soon as the have climed up the social ladder.
This of cause implies that china will continue to develop like it has done till now.
But: as the post said there are a few hundret million people there basically living in the 19th century.
So there is a small financial and intellectual elite and a large basis of 'others'

I believe, there is a probability, that china will face significant social eruptions on their way up.
Is it not so, that many societies with such an enourmouse gap between rich and poor ( or regarding the state of mind of the elite vs. that of 'the poor' ) faced revolutions that threw them back at least a dozend of years ?

Re:China is not the largest market in the world! (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819584)

I agree with GP. China is not the worlds largest market.
It is the worlds largest market with the largest potential growth.

Europe and America are of course the largest markets. But those markets are guarded by very fat cats who will defend their turf. Entering those markets would be expensive. Entering China is cheaper, and has greater potential for insane profits, IF you play by their rules. Before the dragon woke, like maybe a decade ago, China played nicer with foreign corporations. The dragon is now awake and is flexing it's clout. Times have changed.

As for social unrest, I dunno. As long as the communist party can keep supplying jobs to it's people, and put bread in their bowl (and sustain growth), then I don't see an uprising happening.

Phones are life in China (2, Informative)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818928)

It's definitely a good thing that Google held off launch in China; Asian companies are the central hub for embedded technologies, although I think the U.S. gets the brunt of garbage technological imports, but the Chinese population long ago adopted and integrated cell phone usage into their daily lives bigtime. They've been power-using phones long before anyone in the U.S. started promoting it. PDA's where always a big thing, but until the iPhone and Blackberry craze of 2008-2009, we didn't see anything like that virally spread, phone wise. TFA is right; China probably has something total to their population and market that rival very well with the Android and why move away from that? It's not to say China's techies or phone enthusiasts would shy away from trying something new, but like I said, they've been integrating phone usage into their lives for a lot longer than we in the U.S. have nation-wide.

i don't understand (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30818976)

why this is being referred to as a "censorship conflict". Google didn't care about censorship last year. conveniently enough, they get hacked by China, then they care.

More should follow their example. (2, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819088)

The world worked fine before China got industrialised and made all of our stuff using cheap labour and materials by exploiting the oppressed workforce.

Let's go back to home-grown industry and leave China to destroy themselves. Our respective economies could do with the business.

Re:More should follow their example. (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819420)

Wally will undercut you with cheaper goods built on the backs of an oppressed Chinese workforce and be called a champion of commerce for it.

Re:More should follow their example. (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:More should follow their example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819878)

Yes! Let's go back to India and Mexico for cheap labor; or domestically, the immigrant Italians, Chinese, and Jews (although Mexicans are the flavor of the month).

Re:More should follow their example. (1)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820270)

If we are going to have China-bashing comments, could we at least have intelligent ones? That is, based on any kind of knowledge and not just xenophobia.

Re:More should follow their example. (3, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820338)

I call fallacy of idealizing the past here. China has been a manufacturing powerhouse since the 1970s. So 40 years now. So you are saying you want to bring back American factories and conditions from the 1960s? That time in manufacturing was best known for lawsuits, strikes, poor quality control, union corruption, and overall fucktardness.

The reality is our economy (or any for that matter) doesnt work if we paid factory workers 55k a year with benefits. As far as "exploiting" the workforce: Are you willing to pay 2 to 3x the price of your goods for the sake of a factory worker's wellbeing? Well, what do you expect to pay them? Their wages are competitive for the demand of their skills. The guy in the US making 10 dollars an hour on the lathe isnt too different than the guy making 2 dollars an hour in China, when you compare purchasing power of that money in those countries.

Look, Im not some super free-market guy, but using loaded language like "exploited" and pretending that manufacturing in the past was some kind of ideal job is just being disingenuous. The invisible hand of the market controls a lot of this and the largest part of that hand is you and me demanding cheap prices for good like cars, computers, phones, etc. The boogeyman is you and me, not necessarily some big government entity holding everyone down.

related topic: China ends Avatar showing (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819130)

China ended Avatar's run today, the largest grossing film ever in China. The governemnt complained there were too many foreign films in China and not enough native ones.

Re:related topic: China ends Avatar showing (2, Informative)

Primitive Pete (1703346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819268)

Yeah, "not enough local movies" seems like a predictable outcome of suppressing free speech.

Standing up to the China bully. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819164)

I think that the delay of the launch of the Android based Google mobile phones is a good show of intentions from Google that they are willing make unified front against the bullying that China does to all the government and corporate players who are trying to enter the Chinese market. I have a feeling that this event might be the beginning of a widespread rally of corporations and will hopefully spread to governments to stand up to Chinese tactics. China knows that they have a huge growing market on their hands and they are trying to control and bully any and all companies trying to enter that market. They are trying to keep a tight grip of control on the whole situation.

Since they know that their market is so in demand that nobody is willing to stand up to them and call them on their bullying. They are pushing outwards with corporate espionage trying to grab as much research and information as possible from foreign firms to bring it in-house to try and jump-start local corporate and government interests ahead of the foreign companies who are coming in slowly to the market. If they can successfully grab research on the Android based OS and Google phone you know that they will quickly try to bring something similar to that to market through one of their shell corporations and leverage counterfeit manufacturers to produce a similar product to try and capitalize on the mobile phone market ahead of Google and other companies.

China's foreign policy is to do anything to get ahead, including human rights violations, corporate espionage, and other underhanded practices and they only stop their actions once they are caught and exposed by someone bigger than them, and no even then.

I believe that Google would be foolish to abandon the Chinese market over this event, and I think that they will take some kind of action against China, but it will be short of fully pulling out of there in entirety. I'm curious to see how this whole thing plays out.

Android with no facebook/twitter (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819206)

Think of the GFW!
What's the point to have an Android if the facebook and twitter integration is not working? Like all Phone book, contact list, live photo uploading etc not working?
I think the price should be 50% cheaper without these!

I wonder when will proxy supports come in...I am living in China, and I have handful of proxies that let me go over the GFW. But is there a configuration hook for that?

Or could I do something like hack the /etc/hosts, and setup a Apache Proxy/Squid or whatsoever at somewhere to route the traffics? Were Android as open as that?
Until they have a configuration knob, or there is a plugin for that...I am not buying Android or subscribing 3G plan for that matter while I still live in Mainland China.

Not a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819298)

It's pretty much a given that an innovation marketed in China for any length of time will be copied, reverse-engineered, and mass-produced as a knock-off.

What's it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30819506)

I don't think it matters if Google pulls out completely, China will just pirate the phone and it's software like they do everything else!

so this means Android is not an open OS? (1)

darkeye (199616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30819612)

I wonder why these companies need Google's approval to launch on these markets. After all, it's not Google but Motorola & Samsung launching these phones. Android is supposed to be an open OS that you can just use if you want to.

Is this some sort of Google censorship scheme?

hardball? (1)

poached (1123673) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820146)

I read somewhere that google's china market accounts for 2% of their revenue. I was in Shanghai when the news broke and I read it in their papers. I don't think there is a big uproar about their departure. Most people can use baidu for search but maps and gmail will be harder to replace. Google actually has less market share than baidu in China, which is surprising. Maybe they are not used to playing catchup in their own business. Maybe the Chinese government is secretly (or not) favoring baidu and hacking google causing google to feel the market is a lost cause, and fighting an uphill battle with ball and chains tied around the ankles doesn't help. I think it's a bluff from google to tell the chinese government to stop the bullshit and let them operate equally. I don't think they are going to give up the market to Microsoft and others that easily.

This comes on top of Avatar in China (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30820164)

Apparently, China is now extremely limiting the Avatar run in China. [google.com] Depending on whose version you believe, it is either due to China saying that it competes too much with their local films, or it is too close to home with the protests against the gov. for taking land for commercial buildings. Basically, we have a trade war starting in which SOME companies are having enough of the Chinese gov running rough shod on them, while the Chinese gov. continues to ignore their legal agreements to get into the WTO, and then to stay in there as well.

Time to drop their MFN with America and hopefully with the west.

The Whole Taco (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30820172)

Considering the Chinese government's horrid violations of basic human rights I feel that we should ban all commerce with China. We need an official stamp for such nations such as "Hater of Humanity". By applying an official stamp to such nations we could enlist other nations in total economic embargoes. That would surely slap China hard enough to get them to comply with modern nations sense of fairness to its citizens.

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