Alibaba Spars With Yahoo About Google’s China Problems

By Editor
January 18, 2010

Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group is sparring with Yahoo, one of its partners, over statements Yahoo reportedly made last week about Google’s hacking situation.

In a message titled “A new approach to China” and posted on Google’s official company blog last week, David Drummond, the chief legal officer and senior vice president for corporate development, wrote Google “detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.”

Drummond stated the search engine company has “evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.”

Drummond also wrote, “We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China.”

In support of Google, Yahoo reportedly issued a statement that it was aligned with Google on the issues in China.

In October 2005, Alibaba Group and Yahoo Inc. formed a long-term strategic partnership whereby Alibaba Group acquired Yahoo China and assumed management control of Yahoo China’s operations. At the same time, Yahoo Inc. invested USD1 billion and became a strategic shareholder in Alibaba Group. Alibaba Group’s partnership with Yahoo Inc. added online search to Alibaba Group’s e-commerce portfolio of businesses.

A representative from Alibaba Group over the weekend however issued a statement to Reuters: “Alibaba Group has communicated to Yahoo! that Yahoo’s statement that it is ‘aligned’ with the position Google took last week was reckless given the lack of facts in evidence.”

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