Since its massive investment into Coolpad late last year, it has been clear: Qihoo is planning to get back into the smartphone game. And with US$400 million behind the venture, this could just be the phone that finally succeeds where the company’s previous handset efforts have failed. But after reading about Qihoo CEO Zhou Hongyi’s remarks at a company Spring Festival celebration, I have to admit I’m much less optimistic than I was about the upcoming handset’s prospects.
Qihoo 360 has invested USD409.05 million to create a joint venture with Coolpad. The joint venture, which is 45% owned by Qihoo 360, will be responsible for the design, manufacturing, and sales of mobile terminal products such as mobile phones. Taking the Internet as its major sales channel, the joint venture will use Coolpad’s experience in smartphone design, manufacturing, supply chain management, and post-sales services as well as Qihoo 360’s mobile application development and online marketing capacities.
Researchers at Palo Alto Networks have released a new report which says that many of the phones manufactured by Chinese handset maker Coolpad are being shipped with a serious security flaw. According to the report, most of the Coolpad phones researchers tested contained a backdoor (they call it “CoolReaper”) that allowed the phone’s software to autonomously do things like:
While it may have been overshadowed in the global press by Baidu’s high-profile investment in Uber, make no mistake: Qihoo’s US$400 million partnership with Coolpad earlier this week is a big deal. Qihoo CEO Zhou Hongyi has been interested in getting into the mobile market for years. Qihoo experimented with mobile partnerships repeatedly in 2012, releasing three separate phones with manufacturing partners including Haier and Huawei, but none did particularly well. This week’s investment is a much stronger push, though: