... this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses—including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors—have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities. ... we [also] have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
I see a lot more coming of this than just the obvious step of Google backing out of China.
For one, it's hard evidence that when you put all of your eggs in the basket of "the cloud", some of them are bound to break. There's been mounting skepticism about just how effective and safe (and wise) it is to have Google, or anyone else of their ilk, handle your infrastructure — especially when it poses such a giant one-stop-shopping target for precisely this kind of criminal activity. Why hack fifty thousand systems when you can get ten times that many wholesale?
Some people are surprised it took something of this magnitude for Google to realize that it might not be such a great idea for Google to cozy up to an administration that is growing visibly more repressive with each passing week. I'm in the better-late-than-never camp, but I also had a hard time believing the no-evil-please-we're-Google stance had real teeth in its gums.