The whole Google attack thing is far from over. We already have an item on page 2 about how the attack may not have originated from within China at all, but there’s more. Bill Gates has weighed in on the issue, and there are reports indicating that Google may not leave China at all.
As one would expect from a man like Bill Gates, he takes a very pragmatic approach to the current issue, which he calls “complex”. “The role of the Internet in every country has been very positive, letting people speak out in new ways,” he said, “And fortunately the Chinese efforts to censor the Internet have been very limited. You know, it is easy to go around it.”
Gates points to censorship rules in Germany that would be protected as free speech in the United States. For instance, pro-nazi statements are forbidden in Germany. While this is decidedly understandable considering the country’s history, we shouldn’t forget that Mein Kampf is illegal and/or restricted in many western countries (including mine), and here in The Netherlands we even have very popular politicians (sadly) who openly advocate making the Qur’an illegal. In the end, it’s all a matter of perspective.
“And so you have got to decide do you want to obey the laws of the countries you are in or not. If not, you may not end up doing business there,” Gates said, “You know, fortunately the trend towards openness and sharing ideas is being fostered in an incredible way.”
FOXNews is reporting that even though Google may close up google.cn, the company surely won’t leave China altogether. Google is in “delicate” talks with the Chinese government to retain its research centre, its advertising sales team (which generates most of the revenue), and its mobile team. It’s clear Google wants to maintain the lucrative parts of markets, and seeing as Google wasn’t doing too well in search anyway, closing it will generate massive goodwill in the west, without it harming the company too much financially.
If they can work it all out, I’d say it’s a pretty brilliant marketing move by the “Don’t be evil” company.