Google vs China: who's the biggest loser?
I am not so naive as to say that Google is a "do-gooder," as they like to claim, but their long term business interests in China hinge on its ability to operate uncensored. Google is not any more ethical than other corporations; it just sees the world unclouded by the much flouted promise of over 1.3 billion customers. Google knows the numbers, but they also know reality and the possibility for future returns in China. Under the status quo they have no edge over Baidu or NetEase and their share of the world market will suffer if they continue down the road Beijing is leading them down. Google is telling Beijing they do not want to take that road, lets pave another. Many think it is a bold gamble on Google’s part and that they stand to be the biggest loser, but in reality it is a win-win for Google and if they wait much longer they will lose it all.
If Google is somehow able to get Beijing to kowtow before them (not going to happen) then they are golden, no one can touch them. If Google shuts down its losing google.cn property they gain the moral high ground, tons of free PR and strengthen their image as a "do-gooder." Most importantly, their BRAND is strengthened either way. The brand is Google's biggest asset, not a potential Chinese market that has limited possibilities of becoming reality.
This being said, I say "Go Google! Give the bureaucracy in Beijing what for! JaiYo GuGe!"