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Bo Liang
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Founder and President of Maple Lotus Tech Trading Corporation. MLTTC helps Chinese investors invest in Canadian start-ups or new technologies, while helping the latter enter China by finding them the correct partners/suppliers etc. I am a casual stock and option trader. Main interest is to... More
  • Qihu, How Long Can You Kidnap Your Users For? 0 comments
    Feb 14, 2013 10:36 AM | about stocks: QIHU

    The Chinese government reprimanded Qihoo for abusing its power as an anti-virus security suite. Here are the six tactics that the government denounces:

    Making its security suite difficult to uninstall.

    Preventing users from installing competitors' software by noting (fake) incompatibility.

    Warning users that their non-Qihoo browser is unsafe.

    Tricking users to install Qihoo's 360 Browser through default settings.

    Forcing security updates to change users' browser and homepage settings.

    Tricking users into downloading the 360 Browser as an official patch from Microsoft.

    As a QIhu 360 user myself, let's take a look at what these mean on the customers' perspective, the tricks are everywhere for everything:

    1. My default browser is chrome - but every time I updated 360 safety suite when I quickly clicked through the "yes" during installation, I found myself also got installed the 360 browser, and was set to default. It took me 2 times to uninstall again since its reminder is as following:

    2. The most annoying thing ever is the "phone assistant" from its safety suite. When I hooked up my android, the software was pushed and installed to my phone, since I was also running 360 mobile safety, it didn't ask for my permission and installed it for me. It then became a nightmare, since before this, I could just open the folder and copy my pictures out. Now I have to use their poorly made software suite to do it, and apparently it does not recognize my folders. After I uninstalled it, I found that my computer does not recognize my phone when I plug in. It deleted the driver as well. It took me more than 2 hours to figure out and solve the problem.

    (click to enlarge)

    The interface is nice however it really can not recognize my folders such as "sdcard" etc. and the nice organization was not useful to me at all. If it can run like Picasa and group my folders, it will be nice.

    3. The "Safety" trick. When I try to close the program, or skip some updates since sometimes I really don't know what they are, 360 will warn me with a terrifying red window to make me hesitate in doing what I want to do. I assume many users will just follow 360 blindly whatever it tells them to do.

    (click to enlarge)

    4. As a matter of fact, a lot of its software's surprising growth are all from these tricks. their browser became the NO. 2 player in the market in a very short period of time. They are sitting on over 90% of the PC users, and are treating their users unethically. As computer technology is more known by Chinese people compared to 5-7 years ago. Whether QiHu's way of doing things will continually to be accepted is a big question.

    Recently, more and more users recognize that they were "kidnaped" by the software because of the Chinese Government's announcement. Many influential persons are criticizing QIhu on Weibo(Chinese twitter). Currently there is a trend of uninstalling QIhu 360.

    Future:

    Qihu 360 still have its unique value, and a huge customer base. If it can really settle down a little bit, focus on its core business, not like the recent rapid expansion into browser, search engine, games, online shop, and mobile phone direct selling etc., it can provide more value to the users and have a loyal user base.

    We have seen too many Chinese internet company lost traction, because of too eager to make money, or prove themselves. Such as the Chinese version of Facebook "renren.com". It had unique advantage but now it is getting forgotten. Hope Qihu 360 won't go on the same road.

    Disclaimer: I have short term short interest towards Qihu.

    Themes: 360 browser, 360 safety Stocks: QIHU
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