A Conversation With Google’s Chairman and CEO

In Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria has an exclusive interview with Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt:

Won’t some people say that you have a fiduciary responsibility to your shareholders to maximize profit?
When we filed for our IPO, we attached to the document a statement about how we wanted to run our business. We said we were going to be different. We said that we were going to be motivated by concerns that were not always or strictly business ones. This is an extension of that view. This was not a business decision—the business decision would obviously have been to continue to participate in the Chinese market. It was a decision based on values. We tried to ask what would be best from a global standpoint.

Do you believe that China can still globalize while maintaining its censorship system?
China’s embrace of globalization has been a great boon for China and the world. It has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But China is placing restrictions on information that few countries place. China is the only country in the world where Google was willing to offer a local site that followed the regime’s censorship laws. We haven’t done this anywhere else. Other countries sometimes block, say, YouTube for a few weeks. But then we talk to them, point out that they were offended by one video out of literally hundreds of millions. And we work things out. So, China places unique limits on information.

The State Department is planning to weigh in on the Google controversy, according to this report from the Washington Post.

For more on Google in China, see the Financial Times In Depth page and “Clearing Up Confusion on Google and China” from the Wall Street Journal blog. See all of CDT’s previous coverage of this story.

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