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Thursday, Sep 26
Verbal joust between Qihoo and Sohu escalates to lawsuits; Qihoo may strangle Sohu traffic
- Things have turned bitter between Qihoo (QIHU) and SOHU after the latter sold a 36.5% stake in its Sogou search unit to Tencent instead of to Qihoo, as had been speculated. After trading barbs publicly, the two companies are now suing each other over allegations that both companies' software is switching users' browser preferences without permission.
- Beneath the surface of verbal and legal jabs, Qihoo may damage Sohu in a more material way. Wedge Partners analyst Juan Lin notes, "A significant share of Sogou’s search traffic is through traffic acquisition (around 40%) and directed by the Sogou browser. Since Qihoo’s PC anti-virus software has penetrated into over 90% of Chinese internet users, we think it may create difficulties for Sogou to further develop its search engine and browser."
- Further, "[T]here is a risk that Qihoo will reduce the traffic it directs to Sohu video. Currently around 10% of Sohu video traffic comes from Qihoo, and the share has been increasing rapidly."