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Subject: Microsoft tries to enforce Windows copyright - Chinese govt balks since pirates have rights, too
Zhang Fei    11/18/2008 12:15:32 AM
(Quote) When Microsoft rolled out its latest anti-piracy initiative this year, it was not aimed at any particular country. Windows Genuine Advantage, a tool that identifies users of counterfeit software and pushes them to buy the real thing, was launched worldwide in several geographical blocs. But Microsoft ran into trouble when the roll-out hit China last month. While users in other markets kept silent when hit by one of WGA's more extreme features, a mechanism that blackens the desktop background on computers found to be using counterfeit Windows, their Chinese peers broke into a storm of anger, forcing Microsoft officials in the country into damage control mode. China's piracy rates, at 82 per cent according to the Business Software Alliance, are not the world's worst. But the country's sheer size means piracy generates vastly bigger losses there - $6.7bn for all software companies last year - than in any other market, according to the industry group. In a dramatic illustration of the scope of the problem, several million Chinese are using a Windows license key held by the University of Pennsylvania, which is freely available on the web. But fighting these problems is proving a sensitive affair in an increasingly nationalistic country that is well aware of its weight in the global economy. Last month, Dong Zhengwei, a Beijing-based lawyer, called on the police to pursue Microsoft for what he called a "hacker-style attack" on consumers. Local bloggers have also taken up the issue in fervent postings. "If we ignore them for six months, they will come back begging us to take it for free," one blogger called 'liangyouliang' wrote at the weekend. "If they don't seek good relations with us and not give us a little something for our [exported] clothes, then the people of their country will go naked." Well aware of the mood expressed by such postings, the government has also criticised Microsoft. "Violating consumers' rights just to protect your own rights is inappropriate," warns Liu Binjie, Commissioner of the National Copyright Administration. He adds that in future he wants the company to discuss anti-piracy measures with the government before they are launched. Like other multinationals doing business in China, Microsoft cannot ignore that message. People familiar with the company's dialogue with the government say that it needs to apply more diligence to its intellectual property rights strategy in China. They say that the next planned big anti-piracy step, the shutting down of illegitimately-used software license keys such as that held by the University of Pennsylvania, will not go ahead until the current crisis in China is resolved. Separately, Microsoft is taking another look at its anti-piracy tool, and does not exclude the possibility that it could look different in the future. "Microsoft engineers are working on ways to improve the user experience," says Garth Fort, Microsoft's marketing head for Greater China. Although China-specific changes that would take away the black desktop feature are deemed unlikely, there could be global adjustments to WGA triggered by the Chinese protests. The reason is simple: China is becoming an extremely important market. Microsoft's revenue in Brazil, Russia, India and China grew more than 50 per cent in the fiscal year to June 30, more than double the world average. Company officials point to the fact that more than one-fifth of the world's computer science students are now in Chinese universities. If the software group falls foul of Chinese public opinion, what is at risk is not just its standing with today's Chinese consumers but its image with tomorrow's software engineers. (Unquote)
 
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FJV    I find that hard to believe   11/18/2008 12:38:34 PM
"If the software group falls foul of Chinese public opinion, what is at risk is not just its standing with today's Chinese consumers but its image with tomorrow's software engineers." 
 
Let's be blunt here Microsoft's image with current software engineers really is crap. To be honest Microsoft's image with software engineers always has been crap. And very likely Microsoft's image with future software engineers will always be crap.
  
This has never been a serious problem for Microsoft. This is not a serious problem for Microsoft today. And very likely this will not be a serious problem for Microsoft in the future.
 
As for that windows key used by several millions, send an email to the users that if you can prove that you've bought windows you get a new key (showing the sticker on your computer would do it) and make the current key invalid after a week. It is more than reasonable and lawful that Microsoft get paid for their product.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Nanheyangrouchuan       11/20/2008 1:10:06 AM
MNCs built the superpower that is now putting them over the barrel.  I am laughing at "executive talent".
 
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xylene       11/20/2008 1:23:48 AM

MNCs built the superpower that is now putting them over the barrel.  I am laughing at "executive talent".


It's kind of poetic justice. The traitors that have been selling the West out of over a decade are now being given a lesson on who is their new master.  They wanted cheap labor and a new market. They got it.
 
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In-the-can       11/24/2008 5:01:10 PM
So can we assume that anyone can now "pirate" Microsoft with impunity. The PRC lives in cloud cuckoo land!
 
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xylene       11/24/2008 9:05:01 PM

So can we assume that anyone can now "pirate" Microsoft with impunity. The PRC lives in cloud cuckoo land!

What will happen is that Microsoft will turn a blind eye to the piracy of their product in China, but they will come down hard with the fullest extent of the law on Americans. Americans will tolerate this double standard. In fact Microsoft may raise the price on their goods to offset the losses they are incurring in China. Americans will pay the higher price.
 
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YelliChink       11/24/2008 10:34:33 PM

What will happen is that Microsoft will turn a blind eye to the piracy of their product in China, but they will come down hard with the fullest extent of the law on Americans. Americans will tolerate this double standard. In fact Microsoft may raise the price on their goods to offset the losses they are incurring in China. Americans will pay the higher price.

Wait until Apple Inc dominate the market, and they will make Microsoft look like charity.
 
You still can use Ubuntu and Open Office.
 
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Claymore       11/25/2008 2:41:15 AM
I dual booted ubuntu on my laptop, i was surprised how easy it was. Linux still has a learning curve when it comes in stalling programs.
 
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