Qihoo’s apps have been banned from the Apple app store since early this year. In recent weeks, Qihoo’s apps have also reportedly been removed from the mobile app stores of Xiaomi, Huawei, CoolPad, and OPPO, with each company apparently acting in response to Qihoo’s software interfering with their own first-party apps. The latest company to join the anti-Qihoo club is Lenovo, which confirmed on Sunday that it has removed Qihoo apps from its app store after users complained that Qihoo apps were deleting the pre-installed apps that came with their phones.
That list is already a veritable who’s who of Chinese smartphone manufacturing, and Qihoo has reportedly also blocked Samsung and Vivo apps, so it’s possible those companies may follow suit in de-listing Qihoo’s apps as well. Granted, many of China’s smartphone users prefer to get their apps from third-party Android stores, not the first-party app stores that come with their phones, so removing Qihoo’s apps from the Lenovo app store doesn’t mean Lenovo phone users can’t use Qihoo products. But you have to wonder how smoothly Qihoo can operate over the long term in an ecosystem where virtually all the big players are angry at it. Since Qihoo doesn’t offer its own smartphones (it did try briefly in 2012), it’s going to need at least some basic level of cooperation with hardware producers, isn’t it?
Obviously, being friendly with all your competitors isn’t going to get you too far in business, but I believe that in the long term, treating every minor rivalry like a blood feud isn’t going to pay off either. A few years ago, it seemed like Qihoo was mostly engaged with annoying Baidu and Tencent, powerful enough enemies in their own right. But since then the company seems intent on adding more names to its enemy list. I could be wrong, but to me that seems like an exceedingly childish and risky approach to developing a business in the long term.