eBay Courts Partner for New Venture Into China
Today in international tech news: eBay is set to team up with a Chinese company, British regulators order Apple to redo its statement about Samsung, a pirated writer helps the translator who was ripping him off, and Chinese search engines sign a play-nice agreement.
In an effort to expand its Chinese operations, eBay will partner with luxury retailer Xiu.com.
According to Bloomberg, which cites a person with direct knowledge of the pact, the deal, which will be announced formally in Xiu.com's home base of Shenzhen on Nov. 12, is eBay's most ambitious move in China since current CEO John Donahoe took over in 2008.
eBay will have plenty of competition waiting. The Chinese e-commerce market was worth more than US$120 billion in 2011, a 53.7 percent increase from 2010. Alibaba's taobao.com is the country's largest online retailer with a 41.5 percent market share. 360Buy.com is No. 2 at 15.5 percent.
EBay had explored the Chinese market in 2007 but never pulled the trigger like it appears to be doing now.
Apple Must Redo Samsung Statement
Apple has been ordered to re-write its not-so-conciliatory statement regarding a rights dispute with Samsung.
Samsung complained, successfully, that despite acknowledging the verdict, Apple's statement didn't comply with the court order. Judges agreed, and Apple was ordered to remove it within 24 hours and replace it with a fresh one.
Apple subsequently asked for two weeks to publish a replacement statement, which prompted exasperation from the judges. Judge Andrew Longmore said the judges were "just amazed" that Apple couldn't simply put up the corrected statement when it took the old one down. Another judge chimed in that he would like Apple's CEO to "make an affidavit" explaining why it doesn't have the technical wherewithal to immediately post a new statement.
As PCMag explained, the problematic statement, which could fairly be called snarky, reminded people that the judge in the original UK court case cleared Samsung because its products were "not as cool" as Apple's. Apple also noted that it had won similar cases in Germany and the US.
Pirated Writer Helps Out Pirate
When Peter Mountford's book was getting translated into Russian and pirated on the Web, he took action. But instead of outing the piracy to authorities, he helped the translator get the language right.
According to The Guardian -- which was following up on an article in The Atlantic -- Mountford decided to intervene when pirated text had one of his characters drinking melted shoe polish to get high -- not, as the book really says, sniffing melted show polish.
Mountford's book, A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism, was released in April of 2011. He noticed that references to the book were appearing on WordReference.com, a forum for translators.
Mountford originally thought that his book must have been scooped up by a Russian publisher. Alas, he realized the translation queries were from a pirate. He then engaged in a running dialogue with the translator about correct translations.
Mountford told The Guardian that while he's not making any money off the pirated version, it could nonetheless lead to future offers, either in Russia or elsewhere.
Chinese Search Engines to Play Nice
China's top 12 search engines have signed a code of conduct designed to thwart unfair competition, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The agreement, reportedly spearheaded by a government-backed trade organization, harkens to the summer and fall battles between Baidu, China's top search engine, and Qihoo, a company known for antivirus software and Web browsers that recently launched its own search engine. Making like brats, Baidu and Qihoo engaged in a running tit-for-tat, rigging their search results so as to screw one another over.
The code of conduct is voluntary and not legally binding, although as Tech In Asia points out, government involvement could help nudge the companies into compliance.