Web portal Yahoo China yesterday hailed its victory in an unfair competition lawsuit it brought against a company controlled by former president Zhou Hongyi, who still awaits the finding in a separate suit involving the two firms.
Jin Jianhang, the vice-president of Alibaba.com, which controls Yahoo China, said the verdict, issued last month, was positive for all internet users and companies in the country.
'[It] shows that unfair competition and its negative effects will not be tolerated,' he said.
In September last year, Yahoo China sued Sanjiwuxian, which operates Chinese forum content aggregator Qihoo.com, for prompting users who installed its '360safe' software to uninstall their Yahoo Toolbar and making users believe that Yahoo Toolbar was 'malware', or software designed to infiltrate or damage computers.
Beijing's Second Intermediate People's Court ruled in favour of Yahoo China and ordered Sanjiwuxian to pay 30,000 yuan in compensation and 40,279 yuan in legal fees to Yahoo China.
Sanjiwuxian also had to give a public apology.
Mr Zhou, who is the president of Qihoo, said the company would appeal the ruling, according to Chinese press.
'Strictly speaking, the Yahoo Toolbar is not malware,' said Huan Yougtao, an analyst at market research firm Analysys. 'It does help some users and you can always uninstall it on your own.
'However, I don't think the lawsuit has a great impact on the development of the internet industry in China, Qihoo or Yahoo China.'
An industry source said: 'The lawsuit is more to do with the arguments between the two [parties], Zhou Hongyi and his former employer, Yahoo China.'
Mr Zhou was the president of Yahoo China, which bought his internet start-up 3721 in 2003, until it merged with Alibaba in 2005. The source said bad feelings remained between Mr Zhou and Yahoo China over the acquisition.
In August last year, Qihoo sued Yahoo China for releasing false and slanderous articles about Mr Zhou.
Mr Zhou and Tian Jian, then general manager of Yahoo China and now a vice-president in Alibaba's investment department, had argued in the mainland media about Yahoo China's operations and their roles in the company.
Qihoo's case against Yahoo China was still waiting for a court ruling, Alibaba vice-president Porter Erisman said.