Microsoft sues Chinese retailers over pirated software before Win 8 launch

Microsoft sues Chinese retailers over pirated software before Win 8 launch

Summary: Chinese analyst says Microsoft China generates over 80 percent of revenue from anti-piracy activities in the territory.

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Microsoft China announced Tuesday it had initiated infringement proceedings with nine computer resellers in seven cities in China. Evidence obtained by Redmond showed these dealers installed pirated Windows software in various computer brands, including Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer, according to a Sina report.

The initiative came right after the company confirmed it would be delivering Windows 8 to its hardware partners in early-August and the new operating system will be available broadly by the end of October.

The lawsuits will "ring the alarm to those computer dealers who do not respect intellectual property rights" in China, said Tim Cranton, chief legal consultant for the Greater China Region at Microsoft.

The U.S. software vendor has escalated its combat against computer dealers in China that offer pre-installed pirate software, particularly illegal copies of Microsoft operating system that are installed in new PCs sold to consumers. It sued several computer dealers in the past few years and reached settlement with these companies in most of the circumstances.

Fang Xingdong, a Chinese Web entrepreneur, said Microsoft draws 80 percent of its income from anti-piracy activities in China, which is a better way to earn money compared with selling genuine software products, according to the Sina report.

The proportion of China's personal computers with pre-installed pirated software fell to 77 percent in 2011, a new record low and a decrease of 15 percentage points since 2003, according to report released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) in May.

However, another report commissioned by State Intellectual Property Office released in May said China's software piracy rate was 11.8 percent in 2011, compared to 12 percent the previous year. The piracy-rate of paid software stood at 38 percent last year, down from 41 percent in 2010.

It questioned the BSA's understanding of related concepts and data sources, which it said was only on behalf of the interests of a few foreign software enterprises including Microsoft. 

Topics: Windows, Legal, Microsoft, Piracy, Software, China

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3 comments
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  • Microsoft should consider itself lucky that it's being pirated in China

    Given that Chinese culture tends to follow a horde mentality (Disclaimer: I'm proudly of 100% Chinese ancestry myself), it is entirely conceivable that the Chinese PC market could shift overnight to Linux in just a few short years if the Linux camp develops Critical Mass and most every Chinese PC user wants it because all his buddies has it. Microsoft does not have a State decreed monopoly on operating system software in China and it may well find itself in the Number 2 position some day very easily. Microsoft should (and they probably know this) be proud that it's the Number One bootlegged product - at the end of the day its all about market share!
    anthonymaw
  • it is entirely conceivable that the Chinese PC market could shift overnight

    ... to Linux in just a few short years.

    I'm sorry but, buwahahahahahahahaahahahaha!

    There may be a horde mentality, but that horde will still want their PC to be ale to do stuff.
    Scarface Claw
  • Chinese are a bunch of thieving bastards...

    The steal and counterfeit everything they can get their thieving little hands on. Everyone in the world knows that if you want to buy a cheap counterfeit of anything, you just go to China and buy it. No respect, no dignity, no honor, all that BS about saving face is nothing but hogwash... There is no honor in Asia, and there will not be any honor until they police themselves into it.
    i8thecat4