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The purpose of this blog is for my personal use. It serves as my personal diary as I investigate Chinese internet/gaming companies for investment purpose. If you have any comments or disagreement, please give me feedbacks.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sohu – Sogou – Gift for Sogou, part 2

God’s (Google’s) Gift for Sogou, part 2 – Conclusion

Today I am not going to talk about what Sohu "shall" do because it has some moralistic component to it. But rather I would talk about what Sohu "could" do to maximize this great opportunity.

I have to smile on how ironic this is. Google, with a reputation of the best technology and of highest ethics, got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. The victim, Sogou, is regarded as technologically 2nd tier and ethically challenged.

This is not Google’s first time getting caught stealing competitor’s code. Google stole some video player’s code before.

Google did the right thing in fessing up right away. They got their hand caught in the cookie jar. It is just too obvious. The result from Google’s Pinyin Input Method Editor is just to similar to that of Sogou’s. Even the mistakes are the same!

There is no way Google can hide it. By coming out with an apology, they try to stop this story dead on its track.

We don’t know exactly what Google stolen. But we do know it involves with two areas that Sogou is best at, Sogou Pinyin Input Method Editor and Sogou database (with world’s largest Chinese indexed web page database).

It is to Google’s advantage to stop this story as fast as it can. On the other hand, it will be to Sohu’s advantage to prolong this story as long as it can.

First of all, Sohu could change the subject of contention form Pinyin Input Method to Search database. Pinyin Input Method Editor is just a little useful tool that really doesn’t mean much. But Search and its embedded technology is the mother lode.

To maximize publicity, Sohu could advertise on all major newspapers with the demand that basically said that it believe this is only the tip of an iceberg. It demands source code for the Google search engine, Google Chinese database, Google Pinyin Input Method Editor, as well as all internal memos involved with the management strategy on the development of Google Chinese database and Google Pinyin Input Method Editor.

Will Google comply? Of course not. But it does keep the story going.

Sohu could make its CEO, President and Sogou chief designer available to all the TV interviews (and there will be tons of TV interviews if Sohu plays her cards right) telling why is it necessary for Sohu to have those information from Google. Talk about the possibility of a google spy in Sogou development team. 99.9% of Chinese are not going to know the intricacy of database programming or interface between front end query and back end database search. But they do know Google already confessed and Sogou is the victim.

Sohu has a wonderful story to push. USA is the sole superpower in the world and is the dominant number 1 in terms of technology. Information technology is the pinnacle for the current stage of technology revolution. Google is by far the standard bear of the Information revolution. Google is the number 1 company in the forefront of information technology revolution in the world’s sole superpower.

But even a company like that has to resort to stealing of a home grown Chinese company. That is because Sogou is absolutely the best (at least that is what Sohu could claim).

Talk about how Sogou has the best spider technology in the world. Not just best in indexing Chinese web pages, but web pages period. Have the Sogou Chief designer talked about Sogou's "made in china" spider technology and its crawling speed.

Sohu needs to keep concentrating on one point. It is not really about Pinyin Input, but search. It is not really about search of Chinese web pages but search technology of any web pages.

Hammering the point that why Google would went through the trouble to steal Pinyin Input Editor, a tool of so little significance and generates zero revenue? Google is really stealing the internal Sogou database search technology and Pinyin Input Editor just happened to manifest the result.

It is the best not because of some unnamed users said so, or some commentator said so, but because Google said so. Google say it, not with her mouth, but with her action. She is willing to suffer the consequence of getting caught. That alone shall say plenty of how good Sogou’s technology had become.

Sohu shall talk about this is the very first instance of truly significant reverse IP theft. We are not talking about toys or teddy bear, we are talking about database programming and search engine technology.

Talk about this is the first in modern Chinese history, but it won’t be the last. This is just the vanguard of things to come, as China resumes her rightful place as the “middle kingdom” of the world.

Yes, stroke average Chinese’s nationalistic instinct. Make this story as big as it can and as long as it can.

Place ad on all the major news paper with the demands. Sohu could grant interviews to major TV stations. To keep the story going, Sohu could go to court to sue Google for not complying with the demands.

Oh, if average Chinese want to know what the story is all about, tell them to download Sogou Toolbar. (and Sohu, please no more spy ware or uninstallable applications).

(By the way, do I believe in the above? Not really. But if Sohu can do it right and milk it for all its worth, as a Sohu stockholder, I am all happy. Besides, as China gets more capitalistic, it makes the world a better place.).

If Sohu can play it right, it will not just repair Sogou’s reputation. It will also make average Chinese users break their habit of using Baidu or Google and give Sogou a shot.

In summary, Sohu could do the following to maximize this opportunity:

1. Ask for oversized demands that google is not able to meet
2. Move the subject away from Pinyin Input Editor and toward internal database technology
3. Major marketing campaign on Sogou
4. Many TV interviews granted by Sohu executives and programmers.
5. Trying for a long and protracted negotiation process
6. Take Google to court
7. Again, trying for a long and protracted court proceeding

This thing is just starting. Let's see what would Sohu do.

Note: I just remember that this blog belong to google, I hope this article won’t get deleted.


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