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Google On
Monday, January 30 2006 @ 12:29 AM EST

You probably think I'm taking time off. Actually, I'm deep in a very slow, painstaking research quest, for information about SCO's attempt to trademark the mark UNIX SYSTEM LABORATORIES. I probably won't finish the research until later today, so I'm letting you know what I'm up to, where I've been, and when to look for me again.

Meanwhile, I have been noticing out of the corner of my eye a lot of criticism of Google over censorship in China. I don't know anything about politics, or know what should be done in such situations, so I have nothing useful to say about that. Anyway, Groklaw isn't about politics.

But I can't help but note that Microsoft and Yahoo also go along with whatever the law of the land is wherever they park their servers, including in China, without the firestorm of criticism that Google is now experiencing. Why, I ask myself? What option is there for any of them? Break the law? Do you remember what happened to Yahoo in France? Here's the latest on that. They surely tried. Here's the ruling itself, if you'd like to read it. So what do people suggest? Boycott China? Do you seriously believe China cares if every American search engine on planet earth stays out of China forever? Even I, naif that I am, know the answer to that. Like I say, this isn't my area of expertise.

What I know is FUD. Would you like to see some Chinese anti-Google, pro-Microsoft FUD?

Here you go, "Google Is Destined To Fail In China," by Perry Wu. First the author states that Google can never succeed in China because it's not Chinese, and then he praises Microsoft, and says it will eat Google's lunch in China. Um, Perry. Microsoft isn't Chinese either. It's as hilarious as such things usually are:

Google's inability to succeed in China instead resides in it not being a Chinese company.

Even with the hype surrounding Google's hire of the former Microsoft executive, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, and other top grabs from Chinese companies like 1pai, Google's fundamental stumbling block in China comes from its failure to adapt to being a true Chinese Internet company. ....

In the bigger picture, Google's inability to conquer the China market is an indication of its eventual demise around the world. In the same way that Microsoft kicked Netscape into oblivion by looking at the company's services, and then adding them on to its proprietary operating system, Microsoft will do the same thing to Google. When the Vista operating system launches, Google's desktop and browser add-ons will be old-school programs we do not need anymore.

Funny, no? Maybe the censors haven't let them know in China yet that the Netscape caper ended up in an antitrust action in which Microsoft got spanked. The author seems to deeply admire Microsoft's behavior.

Kidding about the censors. The publisher is in Hong Kong. But the beneficiary of this FUD? There is also a dire warning about using any part of the website, and that doing so will lead to legal action. This is America, however, where so far, at least, fair use continues to breathe, and I will rely upon that. Happily, he didn't DRM his article, or I probably couldn't tell you what he said. By the way, remember we covered the UK All Party Parliamentary Internet Group's [APIG] inquiry into DRM? They have scheduled a hearing for Feb. 2. Here's a Wiki with info on who will be presenting. I see EMI plans to be there. That should be a hoot.

Here in the US, however, we are censored. Read your ISP contract some time, and you'll see a list of things you can't say. And there was that recent law passed, regarding annoying Internet speech. Not that I think it's Constitutional, but there it is, at least until the first time someone tries to use it and it gets challenged in the courts.

But my point is, freedom of speech is a continuum. For that matter, so is evil. Here's Google's statement on how they decided what to do. So I ask myself, why such a strong reaction to Google? Is it real or is it manufactured? I can't know that, although I notice there's been bad press from here to China.

Here's what I have observed:

When you compete with Microsoft,
your reputation will be sullied in the press.

Having experienced something similar, I can smell it a mile away when it happens to others. And I'm starting to get that whiff...

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