With all the press about the disaster for Google in China somebody had to benefit, and it turns out the predominant search engine Baidu will be the big winner. Baidu had 63.9% and Google had about 31.3% of China’s search engine’s market before the December attacks. Ironically Baidu was started by Li Yanhong, a.k.a. Robin Li in 2000 when he raised $26.2 million in venture funding including a modest investment from Google. Today Baidu has 7,000 employees and market value of $16.2 billion, however Google sold its stake in 2006. Google entered China in 2006 with an agreement to censor certain topics. But whether Google departs or not, Baidu is sure to grow since many users of Google are worried about security. Of course that is ironic since many in China believe that Baidu censored a great deal more than Google.cn.
Attack on Google
Apparently the attack on Google was through a security hole in Microsoft’s browser Internet Explorer (IE) including these versions:
IE 6 Service Pack 1 on Microsoft Windows 2000 SP4 has the bug. Moreover, the flaw exists in IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8 on supported editions of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, plus Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
Some pundits are wondering why Google was using IE rather than Google’s browser Chrome, which is an interesting issue aside from the attack.
Microsoft’s Ballmer: We’re Staying in China
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer committed to stay in China even though Google appears to be ready to leave. “Google has been in China since 2006 operating under an agreement with the government that has the search giant purge banned topics from its Chinese search results. But the recent attack has Google saying it will no longer censor results per Chinese law and the company is threatening to pull out of the country altogether. “ Since Microsoft recently announced its plan to grow its search engine Bing in China it’s no wonder that Microsoft may stay notwithstanding censorship and vulnerability with IE.