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Why Google should leave Europe

Mike Elgan | Dec. 15, 2014
The company is under relentless attack by European authorities who won't stop until they do real damage.

It should. This is the situation Google found itself in China five years ago.

China redux?
Back then, the Chinese government kept pressuring Google to censor search results to make them inaccurate. The Chinese Communist Party demanded that Google change the results that would come up from searches for hot-button political topics like the Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square, the Falun Gong and many others.

Beijing also damaged Google by hacking Gmail to steal information about human rights activists -- essentially demonstrating to users that Google's "product" was flawed because it wasn't secure.

And finally, the Chinese government engaged in the "theft of intellectual property from Google," widely believed to be the most secret of Google's secret sauce -- source code to some of its search algorithms.

What China did to Google is the Chinese way of damaging a foreign company so Chinese firms don't have to compete.

What Europe is doing to Google now is the European way of damaging a foreign company so European firms don't have to compete. European bureaucrats, lawmakers and politicians will keep saddling Google with ridiculous restrictions -- while doing all they can to damage the company's reputation among the Google-loving European public.

And just as Google pulled out of China, it should exit Europe and serve its European users from outside the continent.

The truth is that the Chinese pullout harmed Google economically. But pulling out of Europe would probably benefit Google in the long run.

That's because Europe doesn't have anything like a Great Firewall of China, nor is there anything like Baidu, the "Chinese Google." Global sites are available to Europeans and they'll continue to prefer and use Google.

What Google should do is simply encourage Europeans to use Google.com, then use location information to serve up local content.

If Brussels bans European companies from advertising on Google, I'm sure the rest of the world would love to buy those ads and sell things to European consumers.

Either way, it's clear that European politicians are bent on destroying Google. And it's also clear that they're going to continue to harass and slander and fine and censor the company until they succeed.

That's why it would be better for Google to leave Europe, just as it did China. And for the same reason.

 

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