In an unusual move, the Alibaba Group of China criticized Yahoo, one of its largest shareholders, for siding with
Google after a cyberattack on that company.
John Spelich, a spokesman for Alibaba, said executives at the
company were angry because Yahoo, which owns 40 percent of the Chinese
Internet company, appeared to follow Google in suggesting the Chinese
government was behind the cyberattacks.
Alibaba’s statement reads: "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.
Alibaba doesn’t share this view."
"We condemn any attempts to infiltrate company networks to
obtain user information," Yahoo said in its statement. "We stand
aligned with Google that these kinds of attacks are deeply disturbing
and strongly believe that the violation of user privacy is something
that we as Internet pioneers must all oppose."
Yahoo is one of the companies that was targeted in the attacks, according to several people with knowledge of the situation. The company has declined to confirm that it was a victim.
The people with knowledge of the situation said that Google contacted Yahoo about the attacks before it publicized them.Google executives were dismayed that other companies were unwilling to
publicly acknowledge the attacks, and they were particularly frustrated
by Yahoo’s silence, one person said.
Tensions between Alibaba and Yahoo have surfaced in the last
year. Carol Bartz, the chief executive of Yahoo, has reportedly told
Alibaba executives that Yahoo was not happy about how Alibaba handled
the Yahoo Internet portal and brand in China. In September, Yahoo cashed out its investment in Alibaba.com, the publicly traded e-commerce site that is partially owned by Alibaba Group.
Yahoo’s statement on the attacks did not make mention of the
Chinese government playing a role in the attacks. But Google’s
statement earlier this week suggested the Chinese government may have
orchestrated the attacks to get hold of information stored in the
e-mail accounts of Chinese dissidents or human rights activists.
Because of those attacks Google has said it has grown
increasingly worried about Beijing’s restrictions on its operations in
China and has threatened to pull out.The statement was a stunning rebuke of the Chinese government and a
rare instance of a multinational corporation challenging the leadership
in a country that is becoming an increasingly important marketplace.
Alibaba called the Yahoo statement premature and ‘reckless’
because Google had not released any proof to support its announcement.
A spokesman for Yahoo, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., could not
be reached for comment.
Alibaba, one of China’s best-known technology companies, operates a
series of popular Web sites, including Alibaba.com, Taobao.com and
Yahoo China. The company, which is based in Hangzhou, is led by Jack
Ma, a former English teacher who has transformed himself into one of
the country’s wealthiest and most admired entrepreneurs.