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Google Reported Ready To Leave China April 10 176

Posted by kdawson
from the so-he-says dept.
A number of readers including tsj5j and bruleriestdenis wrote to alert us to this CNET story: "Google is expected to announce on Monday that it will withdraw from China on April 10, according to a report in a Beijing-based newspaper that cited an unidentified sales associate who works with the company. 'I have received information saying that Google will leave China on April 10, but this information has not at present been confirmed by Google,' the China Business News quoted the agent as saying. The report also said Google would reveal its plans for its China-based staff that day."
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Google Reported Ready To Leave China April 10

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  • hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:34PM (#31539742) Homepage

    ..it will be interesting to see what kind of repercussions google's employees living in China might have to face. This may sound weird, but I'm a bit worried for their workers over there...

    • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ryvar (122400) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:46PM (#31540010) Homepage

      I'm a bit worried about workers in China regardless of who they work for.

      --Ryvar

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Speaking as someone with ties to the Chinese government, I can confirm that they will be murdered.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cyfer2000 (548592)
      I heard their key employees have already been hired by Baidu, MS and Alibaba several weeks ago. Google.cn had to hire new people two weeks ago to keep the company running. And top three managers of google.cn decided to start their own search business.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      This makes me happy. Not that it's Google, specifically, but I'm happy to see any company pull out of China. Wake up, world. Globalization is not the way forward.
      Wait until Google is actually gone. See what happens to anything and everything that is either left behind, or has already been pilfered, copied, cracked, or whatever. China respects no "intellectual" property, whatsoever. All the property of Google in China is actually the property of China - intellectual, or otherwise.

      Expect Choogle to come

      • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Yvan256 (722131) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:25PM (#31540654) Homepage Journal

        If all of this was happening in Japan, the upcoming search engine would be called Moogle.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by homer_s (799572)
        Globalization is not the way forward.

        Are you also against inter-state trade? Why not? If trade between 2 ppl in different countries is bad (that is what globalization is), why is trade between 2 ppl in 2 different state here is ok?

        Wealth is created by division of labour aka trade - it doesn't matter if the 2 people trading are standing on either side of an imaginary line or not.
        • Re:hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CherniyVolk (513591) on Friday March 19, 2010 @02:09PM (#31541336)

          Are you also against inter-state trade? Why not? If trade between 2 ppl in different countries is bad (that is what globalization is), why is trade between 2 ppl in 2 different state here is ok?

          Did you not notice you used the word "trade"? Did you not actually "trade" with your friends as a child? Google opening shop in China is in no way "trade", not even similar concept no matter how you look at it.

          How weird it must be, instead of saying "Hey John, I'll trade you my apple for your fruit cup." with "Hey John, let me live with you in your room, under governance of your mom and dad so I can get a fruit cup too. Alice, Bob, Jack and I will form a committee to arbitrate a 'agreement' between us, so you have to let me live in your house with you. Oh, and btw, I don't agree with your posters on the wall, you have to change them from Porsche's to Lamborghini's and that super model chick you have has mutilated her body which is against my principles so we'll have to bring legal action against you and question your compliance to the way I think things should be."

          • Internet search engines are a product, which Google was selling in China. It is trade, and it's nothing like what you've said here. Google has said they won't modify their product to meet China's requirements, China has said "fine, then we don't want 'em" so Google is leaving. Google hasn't done anything wrong, nor have they done anything like what you've described.
        • by trapnest (1608791)
          What the crap is a "ppl"? Why is your post decently written except that?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bearhouse (1034238)

        Expect Choogle to come online by the end of April, in direct competition with Google.

        Well, it already exists; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baidu [wikipedia.org]

        The only problem is, a lot of people in China find Google better for some purposes, (including party members, according to a report I heard).

        You'd better believe that if the Chinese Gov did not want Google to stay, they would have already thrown them out...

        • Yeah, I've been to Baidu a few times.

          Can you IMAGINE the arrogance of those people? That Chinese site is in Chinese!! Wait - wut did I just say?

          Alright, seriously - if I can switch languages, I don't know how, so it's useless to me. Is there a character on their page that says, "Click here for English, you foreign devil dog" ????

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        What's funny is that in another post, they mention numbers of higher-ups from Google China already leaving, either to Baidu or to start their own search engines. You're shocked, right?
      • by aussie_a (778472)

        China respects no "intellectual" property, whatsoever.

        Sounds like the average slashdotter to me. After all, pirating is perfectly A-OK.

  • by eagee (1308589) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:34PM (#31539752)
    And google is all out of bubble gum.
  • by dracocat (554744) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:35PM (#31539778)

    Why on earth would a salesperson at google be in the know on this one?

    My guess is a memo or something went out saying they would have a meeting on April 10th to discuss things, and the rumor mill starting going full speed inside the department about what it was about.

    I just find it hard to believe that Google's sales department would be let in on too much information.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TSchut (1314115)
      Well, if the salesperson is working in China it would be nice for him/her to know he's losing his job on April 10th.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The sales department sometimes need to know things before other departments. Pushing hard to secure a large deal with an influential customer, only for head office to announce the product is canceled the next day, tends to make your organisation look like a bit of a goose.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The sales department sometimes need to know things before other departments.

        I've seen this before. Management is obviously the first to know, and the first department that Management tells is Sales, followed by HR (since HR needs to plan the transition). Marketing finds out next because a guy from HR wants an excuse to talk to all the hot chicks at once, and this news provides that excuse. The information then gradually trickles down through the other departments in a largely uncontrolled way. Finally it occurs to someone to tell IT. "We need to fail over your servers to another co

    • by SoopahMan (706062) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:48PM (#31540046)

      This is at least somewhat irresponsible journalism. I mean, obviously Google needs time to consider first, how to deal with China, and second if it comes to it, how to handle it adequately. They should have the opportunity to plan and deliver the bad news themselves rather than some kneejerk reporter trying to make a name for themselves. Imagine how depressing this must be for Google China employees.

      Screw you, CNet.

      • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:12PM (#31540458) Homepage Journal
        Imagine how depressing this must be for Google China employees.

        No worries, they can't see it. I'm sure it is filtered..
      • Unless intended - what better way to Pressure China to change its ways then to threaten to leave. Made the news the world over for a week.

        Now, they've been given 3 days to change their mind.

        • by dave562 (969951)

          A lot of reliable sources (like the Wall Street Journal) seem to be under the belief that the Chinese aren't going to blink and that they will let Google go. The Journal had an article the other day about a couple Google businesses that will remain in China.

          Look at it this way. If a huge foreign company went to the United States government and said, "We don't like your imperialist policies in the Middle East. We're taking our toys and going home. When we do that, your people are going to see you for the

          • On a five year time line, I think the Chinese could foster domestic consumption faster than the United States could rebuild manufacturing in the US, or reallocate it to other markets (Mexico, Vietnam, etc)

            I'm not so sure about that. Without the plastic garbage money coming in from the USA, China will have a hard time paying their own people to buy the crap.

            On the other hand, most of ASEAN would be desperate to get the business.

        • by unity100 (970058)

          if they leave, they will be able to utilize and employ filter-circumventing schemes and run their bu siness from outside china without any restrictions.

      • by jadin (65295)

        My tin foil hat suggested this was a deliberate leak by China to hurt Google. Although I'm not sure exactly what this would accomplish.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Loconut1389 (455297)

      intentional potentially deniable leak to test the waters?

    • Either way - doesn't it seem a little ridiculous to report that their will be an announcement a few days away regarding a plan to take place a week or two after?

      It's like - if Google had actually decided to pull out by now, don't you think they might have done so?

      Maybe they haven't yet settled on it, and they're either double checking their math, or waiting for a response by Monday for something.

      If the Chinese have any benefit from Google at all - wouldn't it put the heat on them to leak info that they migh

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      It might be bunk, of course, but I don't think that's much evidence. If I had already made the decision and just hadn't announced it yet I probably would have sent a memo out to the China sales staff telling them to, you know, stop selling things because effective April 10th you'd just have to give them their money back anyway.

      That said, I've also heard it on financial reports on television. Naturally that is not a great source either, but the consensus seems to be that Google is definitely leaving. Th

    • Why on earth would a salesperson at google be in the know on this one?

      is "controlled leak." Politicians have been using it since before I started paying attention in the Johnson administration.

    • by danger42 (302987)

      Salespeople are sometimes the most informed people in a company. They know lots of people, talk to lots of people, and get the inside scoop pretty often. This one might play squash with the VP of something, or golf with the IT guys. You just don't know, but it's very possible.

    • I just find it hard to believe that Google's sales department would be let in on too much information.

      This is what's known as a scripted leak. It allows Google to apply leverage to the Chinese without taking an official stance.

      A similar thing happened when Bush was "betrayed" by his friend discussing his use of cocaine (who talks about that shit over the phone?). It allowed him to admit the truth indirectly while currying sympathy and the press completely rolled over and dropped the issue after that. That was one of Rove's more brilliant maneuvers.

  • I'm with Google. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I support Google in this. Censorship is BS and should never be tolerated.

    • by eln (21727)
      Google has taken substantial hits to their goodwill lately with their stance on privacy and an ever-growing concern that they've become stewards of vast stores of personal data without any guarantees that it will never be misused. Of course, Google's entire business model depends on people handing over their personal data, so goodwill is a hugely important asset to them.

      Google is hoping to regain some of that goodwill with a highly public stance against Chinese censorship, at the cost of what is so far
      • by dissy (172727)

        Google has taken substantial hits to their goodwill lately with their stance on privacy and an ever-growing concern that they've become stewards of vast stores of personal data without any guarantees that it will never be misused.

        Google already gave us a legal guarantee that they won't misuse the data, which is the only kind of guarantee that really matters from a corporation in most peoples eyes.

        The 'privacy' link at the bottom of the main page links to their current policy and all archived copies.
        http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacypolicy.html [google.com]

        These are legally binding, at least in the USA.
        What more would you prefer? Eric Schmidt to stop by with a personal word of honor? ;}

        Unfortunately, there are many other people whom a

    • by waspleg (316038)

      you say, both anonymously and with delicious irony, on a heavily moderated forum. el oh el.

      • ("Censorship is BS and should never be tolerated.")

        you say, both anonymously and with delicious irony, on a heavily moderated forum. el oh el.

        So... what's your point, again?

        Being anonymous isn't censorship. Being moderated down isn't censorship, particularly on a site where one can still read anything that's been moderated down. And, in fact, he hasn't been modded down. So it seems like he's neither in a situation where he'd likely be subject to censorship, nor is he, in fact, being censored. So where's the irony?

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:36PM (#31539784)

    So they close up shop there. They are an INTERNET COMPANY!

    As long as they aren't blocked, they can still serve those users in China. And if they aren't blocked, they can still charge for advertising to non-Chinese customers.

    I asked this before, and everyone said something to the effect of "THERE ARE BILLIONS OF CHINESE" as a reason why Google should stay. But I'm still not seeing it. Google can operate from anywhere. A local presence provides them very little unless they intend to expand some China-specific business/technology, which they haven't done at all (for any country they are currently in for that matter).

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:38PM (#31539816)
      But they will be blocked in China. Remember the motto of the Chinese DNS servers: All your search are belong to us.
      • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:59PM (#31540246)

        Being physically located in China or not has nothing to do with China blocking them. China could block them if they kept up shop in China, or they could not block them even though they no longer have employees in China.

        By removing themselves physically from China they might risk upsetting China (so that they are blocked) but that is not a certainty, and they ensure the physical safety of their employees.

        • Being physically located in China or not has nothing to do with China blocking them. China could block them if they kept up shop in China, or they could not block them even though they no longer have employees in China.

          By removing themselves physically from China they might risk upsetting China (so that they are blocked) but that is not a certainty, and they ensure the physical safety of their employees.

          I believe that their servers are located in China so that all requested searches go to those specific servers and the authorities then would have rights over said hardware should they deem it necessary to gain access to them. If all the data was/is housed anywhere else it would be very difficult for the Chinese government to gain _legal_ access to the data.

          • by mdielmann (514750)

            If all the data was/is housed anywhere else it would be very difficult for the Chinese government to gain _legal_ access to the data.

            So, no problems, then.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by moosesocks (264553)

        Pet peeve: Why is hyperbolic rhetoric like this increasingly being modded to +5 Insightful?

        You could have easily stated that China has a history of blocking non-vetted search engines without the sarcastic comment and nerdy in-joke. Rhetoric like this looks halfway-legitimate to somebody who is not intimately familiar with the topic being discussed, and helps spread misinformation. As far as I'm aware, there's no official known policy, and certainly no "motto"

        Slightly offtopic, but I bring this up, becaus

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:50PM (#31540074) Journal
      My understanding is that they aren't planning on closing their offices in China, they are merely planning on closing down their chinese search engine. It is the requirement to censor that is really bothering them, and they are not going to do it anymore.

      They still will keep their advertising department open, and whatever other programming they do (it's such a pain to start an office in China that it's not a bad idea to keep a small office there, in case you ever do decide to start doing something there, it won't take six months of bribing people to get all the permits etc).
      • My understanding is that they aren't planning on closing their offices in China, they are merely planning on closing down their chinese search engine. It is the requirement to censor that is really bothering them, and they are not going to do it anymore.

        I congratulate Google and suggest that their new motto be:

        "Don't be evil...anymore" or maybe "Don't be evil...as much".

        I do genuinely applaud the move (if they make it), but it would have been far better to say no when asked to help oppress over a billion of

    • by xant (99438)

      Sure. As soon as they do that, they'll be blocked. Google is "in" China because Google is physically in China, where:

      1. They are given special access to get through the Great Firewall, and
      2. China can prosecute Google employees if Google doesn't comply with local laws

      Google physically shutting down offices means China no longer has leverage over actual human beings working there. So they'll use the only other leverage they have: the Firewall. Expect google.cn to be accessible everywhere but in .cn.

  • "The report also said Google would reveal its plans for its China-based staff that day."

    Literal termination of life, courtesy of the Chinese military & police?

  • Kudos to Google for showing the middle finger to the Chinese politicians.
    • by selven (1556643)

      Notice the repeated statements in TFS about how nothing is officially confirmed. I think we should hold our cries of celebration until we get some official word here.

  • by rutabagaman (120913) on Friday March 19, 2010 @12:52PM (#31540104) Homepage

    Google didn't come to this decision because they found their moral compass all of a sudden--otherwise they wouldn't have agreed to play censor for the government in the first place. Like any corporation they were attracted to China by the money and the audience, but after finding out the government was all too willing to help Baidu and hinder Google they re-evaluated their decision. The cyber attack may have been the breaking point, but it may just as well have been a convenient event for Google to justify their standoff with the government.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:19PM (#31540556) Homepage

      Google didn't come to this decision because they found their moral compass all of a sudden--otherwise they wouldn't have agreed to play censor for the government in the first place.

      Alternatively, like any individual or group, they may have felt, at the time, that they could do some good by operating in China, and then realized, in retrospect, that that simply wasn't the case.

      But you're right. It makes way more sense to ascribe sinister, greedy motivations to them. No company can possibly make a mistake...

      • by nedlohs (1335013) on Friday March 19, 2010 @01:55PM (#31541156)

        He was saying they made a mistake, they thought something would be profitable, but it turns out it wasn't worth the effort.

        There was no sinister greedy motivations ascribed. Just usual business decisions.

        • There was no sinister greedy motivations ascribed. Just usual business decisions.

          Remember that to the average Slashdotter, usual business decisions are sinister greedy motivations.

      • by rutabagaman (120913) on Friday March 19, 2010 @02:05PM (#31541278) Homepage

        It's less about greed on Google's part and more about the usual cost-benefit analysis of doing business with China's repressive government. Google just stayed until the disadvantages outweighed the benefits.

        • I don't think so. I've heard people say this, but I haven't seen anyone actually do an analysis suggesting why they think that. Google apparently makes around $300 million annually in China, which isn't a huge percentage of their income, but it's not chump change. Furthermore when you consider in the growth potential, it is hard to see why it wouldn't be a good financial bet to stay there. Certainly Microsoft thinks so, and with a much smaller share of the market.

          Especially when it seems they are just
    • Who cares? In the end, it's the result that matters.

    • An alternative theory is that Google originally thought it's value was in its employees, so even if somebody stole their technology and methods it wouldn't matter much. But now they realize that another company using their code and methods could easily out compete them with some help from the government or better cultural understanding. And the only way to protect your stuff from China is to not locate it in China.

      In other words, Google now believes its future rests on leveraging network effects from its

  • I really they'd had said April 1st instead. That would have foxed everyone :)

  • Old Quote (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrTripps (1306469)
    Remember that old quote about how the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routs around it? That doesn't apply anymore.
  • ...has since been sacked.

    Seriously, WTF is this person thinking?

  • Dear slashdot: Please stop posting rumors. I would like some facts, not an entire front page full of unverifiable rumors.
  • Somehow 4/04 seems appropriate.
  • Google had long considered leaving China. I forget where I read it, but I heard they did some sort of analysis where they determined it would less evil to be present in China and be censored than to not be in China and provide no search capability. It was some type of numbered rating scale of good and evil or something. It would be interesting to hear about how they came to this decision. Would be an interesting white paper.
  • A thought just occurred to me. They probably have a LOT of servers there with a lot of info on them. I just hope they destroyed the disks in them because that information could be very useful to not only identify people searching for "bad" things but also the source code and such that resides on those databases. They are probably worth their weight in gold.

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