Tencent (0700.HK) said it would shut down its QQ instant messaging service on all computers installed with anti-virus software run by rival Qihoo 360, as the conflict between the two companies escalated, state media reported. Tencent told QQ users a new “tag-on service” run by 360 Safe had affected QQ to the point that the safety of the service could no longer be guaranteed. A Tencent official said Qihoo 360 must remove the tag-on service and stop its “malicious slander” against Tencent. Qi Xiangdong, president of Qihoo 360, warned that the removal of the anti-virus software by internet users might lead to an unprecedented outbreak of viruses. Tencent claims to have one billion QQ users in China while Qihoo 360 said it had at least 300 million users prior to June 2010. Conflict between the two broke out in late September when Qihoo 360 said QQ was leaking users’ private data and offered a new service on 360 Safe to prevent privacy leaks.
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