On top of the ongoing recession, PC makers are now struggling to work out how to deal with a Chinese government mandate to include web-filtering software with new computers that will likely hit their bottom line even harder.
From 1 July, computer suppliers inside China are supposed to either pre-install the government-approved Green Dam Youth Escort software or provide it on a disk in the box.
As doing so is bound to impose extra costs on the computer makers, many are questioning whether the edict is even workable in the current climate.
One Beijing researcher hit the nail on the head, saying: "Given how razor-thin margins are, anything that adds costs, even if it's just dropping a CD into the box, is not welcome."
Lascivious and pornographic
The looming deadline to comply comes soon after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman reiterated the official hard line on the perils of the internet in general and search engines in particular.
Qin Gang said: "According to complaints from many residents, Google's English language search engine has spread large amounts of vulgar content that is lascivious and pornographic, seriously violating China's relevant laws and regulations."
To make matters worse for both struggling manufacturers and consumers, the Green Dam software apparently has serious programming flaws that mean it opens up users' PCs to attack.
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