Motorola Pulls Plug on Google in China

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. ( TheStreet) -- Motorola ( MOT) jumped bravely into the Net search censorship issue in China by opting not to use the controversial Google ( GOOG) search service on its Google Android phones.

Seeking a smooth start to its smartphone debut in China, Motorola says it will use Microsoft's ( MSFT) Bing search and give users the option to select other search services. Read: Government-approved Baidu ( BIDU).

Unlike Google, Microsoft has not objected to China's search filtering requirements.

Motorola calls its courageous act a victory for the people.

"We believe that consumer choice is one of the most critical components to ensuring a rich and seamless client experience," said Motorola software chief Christy Wyatt.

The heroic move comes as Google awaits word from the Chinese government about continued search censorship. After reporting that its network was hacked and that Gmail accounts of some human rights activists were accessed, Google reacted by issuing an ultimatum saying it would stop filtering search results or exit China.

China has said broadly that any company doing business in its country is expected to abide by its laws and culture.

The Google protest has created a minor political standoff and thrown off the scheduled China launch of Android phones from Motorola, Samsung and Dell ( DELL).

The growth potential in China is irresistible, given the ongoing economic slump in the U.S. and weak tech spending worldwide. Not wanting to offend China is job no. 1 if you are Motorola and you are trying to navigate a lifesaving turnaround.

Getting on the road to prosperity in China is Motorola's business imperative, but spinning it as a major victory for consumer choice -- that's priceless.

-- Written by Scott Moritz in New York.


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