The U.S. State Department, recognizing that Google's exit from China is also a development being watched closely in Washington, said today that it was aware of "strong indications" that Google will make some sort of announcement later today about its next move in China.
According to a Reuters report, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said at a news briefing today, :
We aware that there are strong indications of an announcement by Google this afternoon, and as we have said throughout this process this is a decision for Google to make... I'm not going to comment on whether we know what Google is going to say. Let's wait for the announcement and talk afterwards.
Back in January, Google - which had been one of several companies targeted in a cyberattack that originated in China - said that it would stop censoring search results in China and threatened to pull out of China over it. Talks, apparently, didn't go well as China maintained its rigid position on China and said that any company doing business there would have to follow its laws.
That left Google little choice other than to follow through on its threat to leave. The company has stayed mum on the matter, for the most part, other than a few hints that an announcement would be coming soon.
Stay tuned. I suspect we'll hear something after the market closes today.
update: An investor's report by Jeffries & Company released today says that Google's exit is a long-term strategic loss but that it carries "no significant impact on revenues" and that the firm remains positive on Google. In the note, analysts wrote:
...exiting China would not be too damaging for Google, since the company is the market share leader in most non-domestic markets, where search usage and monetization opportunities still abound.
Google has been relatively flat on Wall Street today while trading of Baidu, the dominant search engine in China, is up about two percent.