RSS Feeds

Monday, January 18, 2010

Are Other Corporations as Brave as Google?

Since launching it's search engine in China in 2006 Google has received criticism for caving to the Chinese government's demands that they censor certain information (like Tienanmen Square).  I'm sure anyone with an internet connection has learned by now that Google issued a statement on its blog last week indicating that they have reversed their position and will either offer uncensored searches or leave the Chinese market. An excerpt of their blog post is as follows:
We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China.
Check out Google's full blog post here.

This is definitely a bold move on Google's part.  China has one of the most rapidly growing economies in history, and most corporations would give anything to enter that market.  So why is Google willing to risk a lucrative relationship with China?  The most common answer suggested around the blogosphere is that Google's founders are still a large part of the company.  These are two posts I read on the subject that explain it nicely:

The Founder Factor

Entrepreneurs: Risk Takers or Predators?

This is why I love small businesses.  The founders are almost always the owners and operators of the company, so the company's priorities remain consistent.  Few corporations are able to maintain their original vision in the founder's absence (Apple is a wonderful example).  That's what makes Google's decision an anomaly in the corporate world.  Everyone else's priority is to provide maximum value to their shareholders.  Google's priority is "don't be evil." 
blog comments powered by Disqus