Leader: Microsoft's Asian front

The DoJ and EU deflect from the battleground of the future

The DoJ and EU deflect from the battleground of the future

The US and Europe may tussle with Microsoft in a serious way - and by that we mean the DoJ and EU - but don't for second think the major battleground all sides are eyeing isn't farther east (or west, if you fancy crossing the date line) in a third continent.

Several stories today show this perfectly. After recent reports that Microsoft was seeking an agreement with Indonesia's public sector IT departments, today talk is of a deal in Vietnam, also under the auspices of combating piracy.

Then in an interview with this publication, Jean-Philippe Courtois, the new president of Microsoft's international operations (everything outside North America), brought home the importance of the Chinese market. The world's most populous nation hasn't been without controversy for Microsoft of late, specifically its MSN arm but one point to take away from such stories is how hard Microsoft is trying there.

Courtois, a Microsoft veteran of some years and formerly president of EMEA operations, realises, just like all his colleagues must, that open source is the major threat.

We have heard about pan-regional Asianux efforts in the past. However, today our reporter in Seoul told us about a South Korean flavour of the open source OS being rolled out to some 10,000 schools.

There's plenty of logic to the move. And it's just the sort of news Courtois, Gates and Ballmer don't want to hear.

But still, Asia will be a huge market. To say Microsoft - or anyone - won't get things their own way isn't the same thing as saying they won't do very well there.

Everyone is watching Asia's developments closely. But Microsoft is watching closer than most.