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Ballmer Says 90% of Chinese Users Pirate Software

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the forty-two-percent-also-make-up-statistics dept.

Microsoft 313

jbrodkin writes "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used the official state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao as an opportunity to complain that 90% of Microsoft software users in China didn't pay for the products. The comments were part of a discussion with Barack Obama and the Chinese president about intellectual property protection. According to a White House transcript, Obama said in a press conference that 'we were just in a meeting with business leaders, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only 1 customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China.' Obama didn't detail any specific measures the US and China would take to help Microsoft and other vendors fighting software piracy. 'The Chinese government has, to its credit, taken steps to better enforce intellectual property,' Obama said. 'We've got further agreement as a consequence of this state visit. And I think President Hu would acknowledge that more needs to be done.' Microsoft did not say how it calculated the statistic that 90% of Chinese users aren't paying for Microsoft software."

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An Open Letter to CHINA (5, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960178)

AN OPEN LETTER TO CHINA
By William Henry Gates III

February 3, 1976

An Open Letter to CHINA

To me, the most critical thing in the CHINA market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself. Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a CHINESE computer is wasted. Will quality software be written for the CHINA market?

Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the CHINA market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair BASIC. Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving and adding features to BASIC. Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we have used exceeds $40,000.

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these "users" never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to CHINA makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

Why is this? As the majority of CHINESE must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Is this fair? One thing you don't do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn't make money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What CHINESE can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in CHINESE software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to CHINA. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren't they making money on CHINESE software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give CHINA a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write to me at 1180 Alvarado SE, #114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108. Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the CHINA market with good software.

Bill Gates

General Partner, Micro-Soft

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (5, Funny)

PhilipTheHermit (1901680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960302)

George Bush: "Condoleeza! Nice to see you. What's happening?"
Condoleeza Rice: "Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China."
George: "Great. Lay it on me."
Condoleeza: "'Hu' is the new leader of China."
George: "That's what I want to know."
Condoleeza: "That's what I'm telling you."
George: "That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?"
Condoleeza: "Yes."
George: "I mean the fellow's name."
Condoleeza: "Hu."
George: "The guy in China."
Condoleeza: "Hu."
George: "The new leader of China."
Condoleeza: "Hu."
George: "The Chinaman!"
Condoleeza: "Hu is leading China."
George: "Now whaddya' asking me for?"
Condoleeza: "I'm telling you Hu is leading China."
George: "Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?"
Condoleeza: "That's the man's name."
George: "That's whose name?"
Condoleeza: "Yes."
George: "Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?"
Condoleeza: "Yes, sir."
George: "Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East."
Condoleeza: "That's correct."
George: "Then who is in China?"
Condoleeza: "Yes, sir."
George: "Yassir is in China?"

Condoleeza: "No, sir."

George: "Then who is?"

Condoleeza: "Yes, sir."

George: "Yassir?"

Condoleeza: "No, sir."

George: "Look, Condoleeza. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone."
Condoleeza: "Kofi?"
George: "No, thanks."
Condoleeza: "You want Kofi?"
George: "No."
Condoleeza: "You don't want Kofi."
George: "No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N."
Condoleeza: "Yes, sir."
George: "Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N."
Condoleeza: "Kofi?"
George: "Milk! Will you please make the call?"
Condoleeza: "And call who?"
George: "Who is the guy at the U.N?"
Condoleeza: "Hu is the guy in China."
George: "Will you stay out of China?!"
Condoleeza: "Yes, sir."
George: "And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N."
Condoleeza: "Kofi."
George: "All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone."

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (1)

PhilipTheHermit (1901680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960332)

(Of course, I didn't make that Bush joke up... It's from the Internet)

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960898)

Actually, it was originally on SNL. Though the bit with Bush/Condi/Kofi is new.

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960894)

Or, as we say in Canada,

"Hu who?"

(apologies to Joe Clark)

Re:An Open Letter to BILL GATES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960410)

From: CHINA

RE: Your open leter

Dear Bill Gates:

F*CK YOU

Sincerely hoping to steal more from you

CHINA

An Open Letter to Ping (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960616)

Our percentage of knockoff golf clubs is higher than for software.

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (5, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960442)

Dear Mr Gates,

We like to using your software but it does not go well in Chinese. Instead we have make our own called Red Flag Linux, you can look here:

http://www.redflag-linux.com/en/ [redflag-linux.com]

We let anyone use this, for free, we do not need payment.

Hu Jintao

Leader of Largest Country In World

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (2)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960666)

Actually, that one is North Korean and everybody knows that North Korea is Best Korea! [thesomewhatambitious.com]

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (1)

grainofsand (548591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961072)

China is not the "largest country" but at this time is the country with the largest population.

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (1)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961168)

Dear Mr Gates,

We like to using your software but it does not go well in Chinese. Instead we have make our own called Red Flag Linux, you can look here:

http://www.redflag-linux.com/en/ [redflag-linux.com]

Dear Mr. Hu:

This is Mr. Allen responding, as Mr. Gates is not longer with our organisation. However, we're all pleased to hear that you have found software solution that meets your financial needs and pledge our support in ensuring that your Linux solution is the only free one used in China.

Our compliance office is currently compiling a list of individuals who appear to be violating your Linux policies by using Microsoft products and suggest a fine of $640/year, payable to Microsoft, for each such violation.

Microsoft is fully supportive of open software solutions and is looking forward to working with your government's current and future mandates in this regard.

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960722)

The Chinese government believes that the 640 American dollar annual salary for factory workers that make the computers, HDTV sets, and digital cameras that dominate the world market ought to be enough for anybody.

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960848)

And Microsoft believes that of those 640 American dollars/year, 250 of them should be spent on an OS.

(Seriously the monthly wage for factory workers is around $200/month. China is improving in that respect)

Re:An Open Letter to CHINA (2)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960932)

> And Microsoft believes that of those 640 American dollars/year, 250 of them should be spent on an OS.

640 dollars should be enough for anyone.

[citation needed] (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960208)

[citation needed]

Re:[citation needed] (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960406)

I'm your citation.

As someone who's been to Shanghai for the past 6 years and walked the streets, I'd say it's more than 90% in the public market (mainly on whiteboxes) than an international business working inside china. Not sure about the offices of local Chinese companies however. But wouldn't be surprised to find pirated copies in user share folders too.

Seriously, you can find a pleathora of XP, MS Office, and Adobe Suite software on a corner street market. Not to mention the un-godly amount of ripped DVD movies and Telesyncs. Some will even sell you entire portable HDDs full of the stuff.

Re:[citation needed] (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960474)

It's also worth mentioning that most of the pirated software found in China is sold laced with malware. Given all the SPAM and crap coming from that nation, I'd be curious to know the percentage of machine running pirated software constitute being the problem here.

Re:[citation needed] (2)

MTTECHYBOY (799778) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960524)

So, is it just Software they are pirating? or are the creating knock-offs of all sorts of products (Cell phones, MP3 Players, etc) - my guess it the % of software pirating isn't that much higher than the % of other product knock-offs...

Re:[citation needed] (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960648)

So, is it just Software they are pirating?

Yes, often hacked to disable DRM protection and whatnot with included malware laced in. Most of the malware is easy to remove with modern free Anti-virus programs, but I still wouldn't the OS after that.

Re:[citation needed] (4, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960996)

but I still wouldn't the OS after that.

Not even accidentally?

Re:[citation needed] (2)

hldn (1085833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961156)

but I still wouldn't the OS after that.

Not even accidentally?

I the whole thing on purpose .

Re:[citation needed] (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961152)

You're own observations from the street is useless, but thanks for your confirmation bias.

Re:[citation needed] (1, Informative)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960530)

Here's what he really means: many millions of teenagers, instead of buying their own computers for playing video games go to cyber cafes. Those cafes have chosen to purchase Windows Home Edition instead of something for business. The business version allows for multi-user environments, and the home edition doesn't. So if the ratio of cyber cafe computers to their users is 1:10, then he's counting that as all of the users pirating the software since they didn't pay for the full license.

Re:[citation needed] (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960546)

Here's what he really means: many millions of teenagers, instead of buying their own computers for playing video games go to cyber cafes. Those cafes have chosen to purchase Windows Home Edition instead of something for business. The business version allows for multi-user environments, and the home edition doesn't. So if the ratio of cyber cafe computers to their users is 1:10, then he's counting that as all of the users pirating the software since they didn't pay for the full license.

Or, he could just be pulling statistics out of his [citation needed].

Hmm (5, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960238)

Ballmer: Goddam it Hu, (Throws chair) 90% of the Chinese people are pirating software.
Hu: Yes, and you see where the problem is, they are using Windows to do it.

That's CHAIRMAN Hu! (1, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960588)

Traditionally, the title assumed by the leader of China [google.com] is Chairman, not President.

Re:That's CHAIRMAN Hu! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960882)

No, no, Ballmer is the chair man, Hu is the President of China. Just google Mark Lucovsky.

Re:That's CHAIRMAN Hu! (3, Informative)

grainofsand (548591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961138)

In fact Hu has three official titles:

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (since 2002)

President of the People's Republic of China (since 2003)

Chairman of the Central Military Commission (since 2004)

Re:That's CHAIRMAN Hu! (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961150)

Yes and no. The position in China with the most real power is likely the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, which is a position that Hu holds. The position that Mao held was Chairman of the Communist Party of China, but his power simply came from him being the Father of Communist China, as opposed to having any specific position in the government. The reason Mao used and was known by that title was merely that he never held the position of President.

The President title is actually defined as the title of the head of state of China, and as such would be the title that its holder would be known by in diplomacy. So even though Hu is Chairman of the CMC and the CPC, since he actually bothers to hold the Presidential title, they use his Presidential title.

Re:Hmm (1)

pinkeen (1804300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960854)

I disabled my reading comprehension module after "Ballmer says".

Statistics (2)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960262)

Oh Steve, people can make up statistics to prove anything. 14 % of all people know that.

He forgot to mention... (1)

PhilipTheHermit (1901680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960264)

They bought PCs with Windows (and Microsoft counted the sale) then they installed *NIX!

I kid, I kid...

Ballmer just met with Hu... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960266)

So he must know its true. What is so disturbing to me is the notion that some of those 90% users will pay for future releases, keeping MS in business for many decades to come. Its hard to argue with 1.2 billion potential or current users.

Re:Ballmer just met with Hu... (2)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960454)

Yeah, sadly I started my career in MS development on a pirated copy of DOS with a pirated C compiler, then a pirated copy of Windows.

These days I purchase MSDN subscriptions.

Re:Ballmer just met with Hu... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34961090)

You know, it's almost as if the shitty old industrial economic model doesn't apply to non-physical things...

in other news (-1, Flamebait)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960280)

99% of Americans in Iraq are involved in stealing oil and illegal war... What is Ballmers opinion about that?

Re:in other news (0)

SQL_SAM (697455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960640)

We must take notes from China on how to steal correctly, because I just paid 3 bucks for gas and hear that 4 dollars a gallon may happen soon. And I thought Obama was going to end this Illegal war?

Re:in other news (3)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960816)

What made you think you would be getting a cut?

Where do they get these numbers? (2)

xiando (770382) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960306)

I've seen claims like this from Microsoft numerous times and I have to wonder: Where do they get their numbers? Does Windows dial-back and report if it is pirated or not? Or do they just guess how many computers are sold and compare that to the number of Windows licenses sold? Am I a Windows-pirate because I do not have Windows on any of my computers? How do we know that these people who are supposedly using pirated versions of Windows even have computers?

Re:Where do they get these numbers? (3, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960354)

I suspect this would come from Windows Update (which is enabled by default, remember).

Re:Where do they get these numbers? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960896)

I suspect this would come from Windows Update (which is enabled by default, remember).

Which is the first thing a pirate turns off, remember?

Re:Where do they get these numbers? (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961052)

Which is the first thing a pirate turns off, remember?

Why would they turn it off? It still downloads critical security fixes, even on pirated copies. And I haven't ever heard of anyone sued for using pirated Windows, where that information came out of WU.

I certainly don't recall people disabling WU. If anything, I do remember how, back in XP days, when WGA was just introduced, there were numerous hacks that would let you keep it fully functional despite cracked WGA.

Re:Where do they get these numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960434)

You're like a Republican blathering on about how the Census Bureau comes up with their numbers.

Re:Where do they get these numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960456)

I don't know, but having been there a few times, I'd be amazed if it's as high as 1 in 10 paying for it!

Re:Where do they get these numbers? (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960494)

The last time they made this claim, they just assumed that every computer sold without an OS, sold with FreeDOS, or sold with Linux installed was sold to someone pirating Windows.

This claim is silly of course.

For example, with computers sold to companies, whatever OS is on the disk is usually replaced by a volume-licensed copy of some version of WIndows. Many companies, therefore, will buy these computers with no OS or FreeDOS loaded in order to lower the per-workstation cost.

I'm sure there are actually a bunch of individuals who are installing pirated copies of WIndows.or other Microsoft software, but simply counting the number of computers sold with no OS or with FreeDOS assumes an awful lot.

Re:Where do they get these numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960544)

And does Balmer think that if pirating windows was impossible, that a significant percentage of those users would actually buy windows?

Re:Where do they get these numbers? (2)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960974)

I've seen claims like this from Microsoft numerous times and I have to wonder: Where do they get their numbers?

Ballmer just makes up a number in his head, and goes with it. Seriously, have you seen this guy in action? He doesn't give serious consideration to anything, especially facts.

Is Chinese piracy behind IE6's longevity? (1)

troyhunt (548831) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960310)

Worst thing about piracy in China? I reckon it's a significant factor behind *@#%#$ IE6 just not dying: http://troy.hn/cOySCO [troy.hn]

How they know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960320)

Backdoors! :D

In other news. (3, Insightful)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960324)

Party beliefs are that property is that of the people, really you should only have to buy one copy for all of China, in this case I think they've overpaid, but that could be said for anyone that pays the Micro$oft tax.

Re:In other news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960508)

What are you, 12?
Microsoft is the name Mr RoskolniKKKov.

-- Megol

Re:In other news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960930)

Why is parent not modded -1 Childish Troll?

Month's wages (4, Informative)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960334)

Maybe if a single copy of Windows didn't cost an entire month's wages for 90% of Chinese software users they wouldn't pirate it so much.

Re:Month's wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960374)

An entire decade's wage is probably more realistic...

Re:Month's wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960392)

I wish someone could explain to me why they don't just skip the grifting of the Microsoft products, if what Balmer said is true, and use one of the Linux distributions along with the available software.

Sorry to spoil a good M$ bash but (1)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960424)

they have a heavily discounted version for the Chinese market

Re:Sorry to spoil a good M$ bash but (0)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960812)

So heavily discounted they might even call it $0!

Re:Sorry to spoil a good M$ bash but (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961118)

Which is another way of saying that they tack the cost of the OS onto the bill that people in other countries pay when they buy a license.

I get the logic there, but it strikes me as being a bit insulting to those of us that live in countries where licenses are usually paid for. Or at least frequently enough to make commercial software viable.

Re:Sorry to spoil a good M$ bash but (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961162)

Any numbers?

Re:Month's wages (1)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960606)

Even if it does (which I doubt you can not get discounted), for a product that would encounter heavy use for YEARS I think the cost spread over those years would be quite reasonable.

Re:Month's wages (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960662)

I'm pretty sure that the 90% metric is wrong, 100% of people who use windows pay for it.

Re:Month's wages (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960788)

Gee, you'd think the Chinese people could get better pay for their work so they could afford to buy foreign products.

Re:Month's wages (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961022)

Maybe if a single copy of Windows didn't cost an entire month's wages for 90% of Chinese software users they wouldn't pirate it so much.

Maybe if a Lamborghini Murciélago didn't cost an entire 10 years of an average American's wages, people wouldn't steal them so much?

Re:Month's wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34961194)

Besides, they already spent their money on iPhones.

Work with them (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960346)

Working for a Chinese company , I can almost believe it. They don't believe or understand why we should have to purchase licenses for software. If you can crack it then it's free.

If you can get away with violating rules and regulations , then it 's okay. Anyway , there are so many loopholes in rules in regulations, and they pretty much know them all.

I know, they say , oh the boogey man will get you. Well , I can tell you it's been 10 yrs and he ain't been here yet.

They will steal any software that they can. But even given that , they can't steal 90% of it.

but 90%, that does seem a little steep. i guess my big question is , "How do you know this Steve?"

Ha, what about Red Flag Linux? (1)

steeleyeball (1890884) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960356)

China has their own distro of Linux. You don't have to pay, just support the Open source royalty free developers who are working on the projects you need. If they choose to use Microsoft products illegally then they are just hypocrites.

trade with china is like a wife swap (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960362)

US-China trade deals are like a wife swap except the US is the only one that brought their wife.

Re:trade with china is like a wife swap (1, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960938)

That's a wife? I thought it was a cow.

Surprised (1, Insightful)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960394)

Surprised Pres. Obama didn't deflect the question with "but we got some pandas in our fancy zoos locked in for 5 more years, so win some lose some".

Really do you think Obama will push the issue at all? With all the issues the US has with China, the first few days of Hu's visit resulted in nothing but securing pandas for zoos for a few more years. Whoop dee fucking doo!

If Ballmer thinks anything will be done on this front, he is stupider then I thought.

Re:Surprised (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961174)

Politics, you fail it.

So 10% can afford it.... (0)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960404)

So 10% of China can afford the software and the other 90% would never be able to afford it since its probably costs as much as their yearly income so they just downloaded pirated versions.

Which means lower costs. (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960408)

We compete with people who pay lower costs (legally) for everything from software to medicine.

Then on top of that, 90% pirate.

Good lord, no wonder the jobs are going over there. We should fine the hell out of any company selling products in the U.S. which were made by people using pirated software. But we keep those fines for U.S. countries and citizens while giving China a free ride.

This ends one way.. but it will probably take a few more years to play out.

Re:Which means lower costs. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960702)

My understanding is that China generally gets a free ride in these cases because China holds most of the US debt. We can't afford to make more than token complaints without risking our country's solvency. It's a pretty big stick.

Re:Which means lower costs. (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961026)

Your understanding is wrong. They only hold 20.6% of our foreign debt. About the same as Japan. Our foreign debt is only about 30% of our total debt.

No (5, Interesting)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960412)

I have been to the crowded Chinese technology markets. They are fantastic places; it feels like Blade Runner or something else out of a Dick novel. Food stalls, people selling every kind of hardware (except the newest), all software everywhere (a lot in English, but most in Chinese), people of every variety (I, a big blond guy, didn't stand out much. If I had hunched over and worn a coat, most people wouldn't have noticed me.), and a variety of tongues. In the hinterland, the best spoken English I found was in the computer markets.

But if 10% of the non-Chinese produced software being sold was legal, then I am a fool who knows nothing about computers. I would say that number suggested by Ballmer should be far closer to 100%. There was nothing legal being sold in the computer markets, malls, or anything else I saw selling Microsoft products.

Oh yeah, the place is infested with computer viruses as well. There's no kind of virus like a Chinese virus that western produced AV products don't recognize. If you're going to do business in China, you should do it with a Linux based OS.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34961198)

You went to a market and assume the entire country is running copied windows? When was the last time you bought something for a business of home from a market?

Windows Phone 7: "90% of my allowance wasted" (1, Funny)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960428)

In other news, the Windows Phone 7 user is really mad. We tried to call him but he was out of credit [tomsguide.com] .

Why doesn't china standardize on FOSS? (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960476)

Rather than convince its citizens to send billions of Yuan to a US company, maybe the Chinese government would be better served to promote FOSS solutions like (Linux + Openoffice come to mind immediately but I'm sure there are other free/cheap office suites)

If I were an official in the Chinese government, I'd trust a Chinese forked Redhat distribution combed by loyal Chinese developers a lot more than a closed source operating system from a large US company to keep my secrets safe -- there's no telling what backdoors the US goverment asked MS to embed.

Re:Why doesn't china standardize on FOSS? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960566)

Funny you should say that. North Korea has their own national flavor called "Red Star" Linux. God knows, but I'm willing to bet that entire OS is one monolithic backdoor running on silicon. Every keystroke captured and uploaded no doubt.

Anyways, I wouldn't put it past other command-and-control nations to roll there own Linux distribution as well.

i second that (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960760)

If I were an official in the Chinese government, I'd trust a Chinese forked Redhat distribution combed by loyal Chinese developers a lot more than a closed source operating system from a large US company to keep my secrets safe

not to mention all the world, even the u.s. corporations themselves are finding out it to be the same, with the news we are getting of nsa, cia, fbi tampering and corporations willingly letting them tamper and install backdoors in their software for them.

Not just the users, but the government (3, Interesting)

pergamon (4359) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960528)

I visited MS campus about 15 years ago and at the time they were fond of claiming that the Chinese government was actively pirating MS software for distribution and resale. They even went so far as to say that they owned the equipment necessary to duplicate their holographic license stickers to produce physical pirated copies for resale outside the country.

Only 90%? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960532)

Seems odd, when you consider things like reviews of the iPad getting dinged because it "can't run pirated software" and the Chinese Android marketplace where malware is being spread to Android devices...

You'd think that the vast majority of Chinese users would pirate.

Or is the remaining 10% those who simply aren't detected?

Re:Only 90%? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960564)

Gah. I goofed my hyperlinks. Preview next time... here it is with links..

Seems odd, when you consider things like reviews of the iPad getting dinged because it "can't run pirated software" [slashdot.org] and the Chinese Android marketplace where malware is being spread to Android devices [slashdot.org] ...

You'd think that the vast majority of Chinese users would pirate.

Or is the remaining 10% those who simply aren't detected?

FUNNY !! RED HAT HAS THE SAME SITUATION !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960628)

Yet it generates a few million profit for itself. And isn't that all that matters, enouhg to survive ?? Let the poor use Windows. Let them using Red Hat. Who cares ?? Can't we all just get along ??

An open letter to Steve Ballmer from China (3, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960656)

Dear Mr. Ballmer

We openly admit that it is common practice in this country not to pay MicroSoft's predatory pricing if another avenue presents itself. However, we'd like to assure you that we're getting tired of the damned bluescreens, the most annoying of which occurred at the Beijing Olympics, right in front of God and everybody, if we believed in God, and we have decided to return all of our bootleg copies and what few legitimate copies we could scrape together. The crates should be arriving soon. We will be switching to Linux. We wish your company good fortune and hope you sell many more copies of Windows to the US military.

Regards,

China

And the other 10% (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960720)

Are glad they invested in that $10 CD library from the vendor on the street corner.

So ? (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960740)

a market which is bigger than 1 billion, (more than 1/7th of the world, mind that) would just open itself to you, just as you wanted it to ?

oh boy. that only happens in america, or satellite states since the corporations have the government all in check all the time. its not that way with china, 1+bn, india ~1bn, and russia (200 mil+) and so on.

its high time to wake up to the fact that not all world turns on the hinge of governments which are vulnerable to riaa, mpaa, bsa, this that.

Re:So ? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960998)

not all world turns on the hinge of governments which are vulnerable to riaa, mpaa, bsa, this that.

      Nah that only happens in "free" countries. Oh, wait...

Common Ground (1, Funny)

Nocuous (1567933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960856)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used the official state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao as an opportunity to complain that 90% of Microsoft software users in China didn't pay for the products.

So, about the same ratio as the /. community?

What the hell? (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960862)

No mention of the threat of intercontinental ballistic chairs...

Microsoft is feeling patriotic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34960888)

Seems back in June '09 they were thinking about moving the operation elsewhere [slashdot.org] . I guess they decided they loves us again.

The problem will solve itself (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960892)

Someday people will stop using his software

MS loves piracy in China! Is it changing its tune? (5, Informative)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960914)

Bill Gates, 1998: "About 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-212942.html [cnet.com]

Bill Gates, 2007: "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not."
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article2098235.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Steve Ballmer, 2001: "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works."
"Microsoft CEO takes launch break with the Sun-Times" (1 June 2001) Chicago Sun Times

Barack Obama, 2011: "So we were just in a meeting with business leaders, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only one customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China. And so can we get better enforcement, since that is an area where America excels -- intellectual property and high-value added products and services."
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/19/press-conference-president-obama-and-president-hu-peoples-republic-china [whitehouse.gov]

The numbers, 2009: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/software-piracy-in-china/ [nytimes.com]


Microsoft wants hegemony in China over free (and freedom-respecting) options like GNU/Linux. It has always viewed piracy as a way to achieve this goal, but it doesn't have any real plan to turn those pirated copies of Windows and MS Office into revenue. Are they changing strategies and trying to muscle China now? Or is the U.S. gov't playing hardball for its own reasons? Or is it all just bullshit sabre-rattling? A real crackdown on Windows bootlegging would almost certainly make GNU/Linux the dominant platform in China. Parts of the Chinese gov't have pushed the Red Flag Linux distro in the past (specifically to avoid Windows licensing costs in Internet cafes), and there has been plenty of talk about the arrogance of Microsoft and the West, along with fears of potential backdoors in Windows. I'm sure the Chinese would prefer to be distributing a homegrown distro rather than having to pay up when Microsoft and the U.S. gov't come to collect.

a much bigger question (0)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960984)

how many Chinese Users throw chairs?

Should have said (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961010)

Chairman Hu should have replied simply:

"We understand your concerns. However, the Chinese people feel that intellectual property belongs to the people as a whole. It is fundamental to our way of life. As such it is nearly impossible to convince them to pay for something that they truly believe should be free. There are only two solutions. The first is that Microsoft secure their software in such a way that it can not be copied with your express consent. This option has been shown over several decades to be impossible. The second is the approach I shall take... We can not train our entire law enforcement system to distinguish all the varieties of Microsoft software and its current DRM status, but we do not want you to feel like we are steeling from you. Instead, effective immediately, Microsoft software will be illegal in the Peoples Republic of China. All traffic to your websites will be blocked. All mention of your companies name on our search engines will be gone (Google has assured us this will not be a problem.) Any version of any Microsoft product found on any citizens computer will be intermediately deleted and replaced with an open source equivalent on the spot. We hope that this small gesture will stem the tide of revenues Microsoft has been losing to Chinese thieves over the years."

Re:Should have said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34961196)

Then Microsoft would laugh as China was roundly condemned for its lack of freedom and tolerance, and even couldn't even make up a pretense anymore.

It'd be great for them.

I hate when they quote Obama out of context. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34961014)

If it were a true transcript of anything Obama said without a teleprompter handy, it should be rife with stuttering and "uh... uhhh.... uhm... we... we.... uhh.... hmmm.... YES WE CAN!" and such.

Hu's on first (-1, Redundant)

russryan (981552) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961076)

Hu's on First

By James Sherman

(We take you now to the Oval Office circa 2003)

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?

Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.

George: Great. Lay it on me.

Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.

George: That's what I want to know.

Condi: That's what I'm telling you.

George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes.

George: I mean the fellow's name.

Condi: Hu.

George: The guy in China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The new leader of China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The Chinaman!

Condi: Hu is leading China.

George: Now whaddya' asking me for?

Condi: I'm telling you Hu is leading China.

George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?

Condi: That's the man's name.

George: That's who's name?

Condi: Yes.

George: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East.

Condi: That's correct.

George: Then who is in China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir is in China?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Then who is?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.

Condi: Kofi?

George: No, thanks.

Condi: You want Kofi?

George: No.

Condi: You don't want Kofi.

George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi?

George: Milk! Will you please make the call?

Condi: And call who?

George: Who is the guy at the U.N?

Condi: Hu is the guy in China.

George: Will you stay out of China?!

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi.

George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone. (Condi picks up the phone.)

Condi: Rice, here.

George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?

if only 10% of chinese pay for windows (1)

goffster (1104287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961122)

Then you make more profit than you have in the lifetime of microsoft!

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