Internet search giant Google has escalated its war of words against Microsoft's $44.6 billion takeover bid of Yahoo!, noting that the software giant's history suggested the purchase would be "bad for the Internet." Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been a vocal opponent of Yahoo!'s sale to Microsoft and he restated his worries during a news conference Monday morning in China.
"We would be concerned by any kind of acquisition of Yahoo! by Microsoft," Schmidt said. "We would hope that anything they did would be consistent with the openness of the Internet, but I doubt it would be."
Odd that Schmidt should mention the openness of the Internet while in China this week. Coincidentally and ironically, China blocked Google's You Tube and Google News sites over the weekend when videos of Tibetan protests against China appeared online. It's unclear whether Schmidt considers this type of behavior "bad for the Internet" as well. Meanwhile, China has banned international reporters from Tibet. Its own press, of course, is state controlled
To be fair, Schmidt's comments about Microsoft and his silence about Chinese censorship are actually pretty consistent: In both cases, he's simply doing what's right for Google's business. Unfortunately for the company, its investments in China have yet to pay off, even though China's Internet usage surpasses that of the United States. Google made just $71 million in China in 2007, according to a Credit Suisse estimate, less than one percent of the company's revenues last year.