Jan 24th, 2010

chinaIf you’re not already aware (you may be from a different planet), Google has announced a new approach to doing business in China after several governmental hacking attacks on human rights groups came to light. The country censors Google’s search results and has made the company’s mission of organizing the world’s information nearly impossible: information that a Communist country doesn’t want you to see, you’re not allowed to see.

As part of their new Chinese strategy, it seemed that Google was pulling out of China completely. Those are rumors which Google denied, saying instead that they are in active talks. But the talks are clearly about Google convincing China to allow unfiltered and uncensored search results. The world’s largest country versus the world’s largest company?

If Google stays in China they could be subject to even TIGHTER regulation. I think Google is doing a great thing, but it also opens up the door for Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo to capitalize on the huge Chinese population using their search engine’s instead… and we all know that China has a HUGE population (1.3+ Billion).

But how does Android fit into the picture?

Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Android Phones by Motorola and Samsung have been postponed because of Google’s concerns that users won’t have the best experience. But unless these are Google experience phones that have “with Google” branding, why should Google have any say in this? The handsets were headed to China Unicom, but couldn’t they launch the devices without Google Search, Google Maps, GMail, Yahoo and all the Google-related features?

I understand Google’s concern but if it’s truly open, Google shouldn’t be able to leverage Android against China in this spat. I agree with Google’s position in general, but Android’s purpose was to level the playing field… and this clearly shows a tilted playing field in the direction of Google.

What do you think? Should Google be restricting use of Android in China? Should they treat “with Google” and regular Android phones differently in regard to China? Is Google operating with a heavy hand here or have Motorola and Samsung agreed with this approach?

It would absolutely stink for Motorola/Samsung/China Unicom if they were ready to launch a handset and at the last second Google simply said, “no you don’t”…. did they?

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