Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has become a political hot button after pulling its search engine out of China.

The world's leading online company lived up to its promise of uncensored search in China, redirecting its traffic to its unfiltered engine in Hong Kong. Chinese regulators quickly blocked some aspects of the rerouting, without shutting Google out completely.

It remains to be seen what will happen and who will benefit from Big G's retreat. Goldman Sachs bumped up Baidu's (Nasdaq: BIDU) price target this week, feeling that it stands to gain between 33% and 75% of the market that Google will likely be leaving behind.

I'm not entirely convinced. If Google users in China crave Western options, why isn't Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) fast-growing Bing the logical heir? Either way, this story now has geopolitical implications, so it's one that will be watched closely by more than just concerned investors.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Linux specialist Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) posted robust 18% top-line growth in its latest quarter, fueled by its flagship subscription services. There is money to be made in enterprise software if you prove you can save companies some serious coin. Bellwether Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) came through with 13% revenue growth, but its growth is rarely all organic, given the company's acquisitive nature.
  • Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) addicts looking for a way to raise money for their next caffeinated fix can now get it through ownership in the company. Starbucks initiated a dividend policy. It will pay shareholders $0.10 a share every quarter.
  • E*TRADE (Nasdaq: ETFC) finally introduced its new CEO. The discount broker also will ask shareholders to approve a 1-for-10 reverse split.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Baidu and Google are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Starbucks is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.