IT giants' catfight plagues nation's Internet users

08:29, November 04, 2010      

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Qihoo 360, one of China's leading online security software developers, and Tencent, a technology company that operates the popular instant message system QQ, are in the middle of a malicious catfight in which the pair blame each other for underhanded business practices.

Some online users claimed to have suffered from the tit-for-tat spat after Tencent moved to block its popular QQ software program on computers that had installed Qihoo 360 products, a decision Tencent called "tough." Some QQ users term it a "choose-or-lose game."

"We apologize for the incurred inconvenience and beg for your understanding and support," Tencent announced in a pop-up window Wednesday.

An attempt to run QQ on computers with 360 products resulted in a window reading, "360 malware is disrupting the safe operation of QQ. We urge you to uninstall all 360 products before normally running QQ."

The rivalry between QQ and 360, whose services and products do not directly compete against each other, stemsfrom 360 accusing Tencent of breaching users' privacy on September 27, when 360 launched a free privacy software program known as "360 Privacy Protector."

The software maker claimed that Tencent's QQ application spied on its more than 600 million active users by scanning users' documents on hard drives.

The allegations were dismissed by Tencent, which fought back by accusing 360 of fabricating facts, and by filing a lawsuit against it for unfair practices. One widely read online statement from Tencent said "We make a solemn statement here that our company always gives a priority to privacy protection and never spies on users. We urge users to keep a wary eye and do not fall prey to some company's trap."

As a response, 360 said, "The latest evidence showed QQ's black-list function has helped the company make huge profits by scanning user's hard drives."

Tu Jianlu, a press officer with 360, told the Global Times, "Tencent is abducting its clients with their power over the Internet. It is irresponsible to Web users, and what it did was a gross act of malicious competition without a bottom line."

Calling the latest countermeasure by Tencent an Internet atrocity, Tu said "We will send a letter to all our users telling them what we can do to protect them from being violated on the Internet."

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(Editor:梁军)

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