This is why I have a strong dislike of government and our system of lobbyists. Many people in the tech community are becoming increasingly skeptical of Google’s motives in partially pulling out of the Chinese markets and starting to suggest a certain level of hypocrisy.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) gets hacked over the Christmas holidays when most people aren’t watching the ship, and all of their source code for all of their products is, embarrassingly, downloaded to a Chinese hacker. Their response? Pull out of a search market that they are already failing in. But leave other assets that have more promise.
And suddenly the U.S. Congress is praising Google and slamming, well, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Because doing business in China was just fine in December 2009. But today it’s very, very wrong. Says Chris Smith, R-N.J.:
They [Microsoft] need to get on the right side of human rights rather than enabling tyranny, which they’re doing right now.
And GoDaddy, a domain registrar that markets itself by suggesting to users that buying domain names can get them laid, gets in on the action, too. Representative Smith “praised Internet domain host site GoDaddy.com which said it will no longer offer new Chinese Web domains.”
Also in on the feeding frenzy was Senator Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who applauded Google’s actions by bravely leaving the Chinese market.
Let’s put aside the fact that Google has given $8,500 and GoDaddy has given $19,500 to Senator Dorgan. Because politicians never do favors to people who donate to their campaign funds, of course.
Really, GoDaddy? Explain again how this isn’t a publicity stunt?
GoDaddy most certainly did pull a publicity stunt, and the publicity was provided by our government. And Google, who had nothing bad to say about China in 2009, is now suggesting Microsoft is only doing business in China to irk Google. Said Google’s Sergey Brin of Microsoft:
“I’m very disappointed for them in particular,” Brin said. “As I understand, they have effectively no market share – so they essentially spoke against freedom of speech and human rights simply in order to contradict Google.”
Brin’s hypocrisy is astounding. GoDaddy’s brashness is…funny. But our government’s willingness to play this game, and trash Microsoft for not deciding that China is evil at exactly the same moment that Google did, is sad and irresponsible.
We all buy China’s stuff every day. Our government is financed by Chinese credit. Whatever China is or isn’t, we are all very much in business with them. Even Google, who retains sales and R&D staff in China and is certainly going to sell a ton of Android handsets there.
I can hold my nose at all the BS that Google spouts as they extricate themselves from a sticky situation. I can put up with GoDaddy purchasing publicity from a U.S. Senator. But what I can’t sit and watch is Microsoft being raked over the coals by a government that does nothing to fight the evil that they say exists in China, just to give a little bit back to a couple of companies that have thrown some money their way.