Well, Eric Schmidt was right.
Just two days ago, the Google CEO, speaking at a media conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, said that though "there is no specific time table" in regard to when Google and China will come to a decision about their relationship going forward, the time will be soon.
If China is to stand by the statements of its top Internet regulator, which it undoubtedly will, there will no compromise between the search giant and China over the issue of censorship.
At a press conference in Beijing on Friday, Li Yizhong, Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology, made sure that Google understood very clearly China's stance:
"If you want to do something that disobeys Chinese law and regulations, you are unfriendly, you are irresponsible and you will have to pay the consequences," he said. "Whether they leave or not is up to them. But if they leave, China's Internet market is still going to develop."
Google had been operating its service in China under the country's standard censorship demands for a couple years without much issue until mid-January of this year, when the "don't be evil" company revealed on its official blog that it had discovered a "highly sophisticated" attack, originating in China, targeted at Chinese human rights activists. Some Gmail accounts were compromised in the act.
In response to the discovery, Google said that it could not rightfully continue operations in China without some major changes to its censoring policy, currently in line with the Chinese governments demands.
Li, who said that the government must censor Internet content in order to protect its people and their rights, has essentially warned Google that its search engine must comply with China, or get out.
Google has been vague on details, but sources say the company has figured out a way to operate in China in a patchwork fashion anyway. Meanwhile, we can safely assume that Google as we know it will soon become inoperable in China.