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The Intersection of Microsoft, Linux, and China

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the tangled-web dept.

Microsoft 206

at_$tephen writes "Fortune magazine has an article stressing the Chinese market's importance to Microsoft's long term strategy, and touching on Linux's involvement in the Chinese market. In the early days of Microsoft rampant piracy helped establish it as the de facto standard in PCs despite good alternatives. History may be unfolding again here, with the exception that having the Chinese government as an ally has huge additional benefits. Or perhaps Gates has met his match with the Chinese government. 'In another boost for Microsoft, the government last year required local PC manufacturers to load legal software on their computers. Lenovo, the market leader, had been shipping as few as 10% of its PCs that way, and even US PC makers in China were selling many machines "naked." Another mandate requires gradual legalization of the millions of computers in state-owned enterprises. In all, Gates says, the number of new machines shipped with legal software nationwide has risen from about 20% to more than 40% in the past 18 months.'"

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Ninnle Linux Rules! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19813715)

Never mind this silly-assed story! The real news is that Ninnle Linux is in the next version and ready for the desktop!

All hail our new Ninnle Linux overlords!

Using Linux to run illegal copies of Windows (1, Troll)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813985)

It's pretty clear that one of the main uses of Linux is to boot stolen copies of Windows. We all know about the prevalence of software and IP theft in China. Therefore it's only natural that we should see this intersection in that part of the world.

I'm always concerned about all the propaganda that comes out of the pro-Linux camp concerning its number of users. Should those who use Linux only as a boot loader be counted? After all, Linux is barely usable on its own...

Linux ready for the desktop? When it's used to boot into Windows, yeah.

troll, funny tho (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814285)

No, I guess it's not clear how that works. I insist that Linux is as easyto use as any OS, but it is hard to install. II can't help laughing at the concept of someone using Linux(which is NEVER a boot loader, it's a kernel) to install grub? lilo? so that they can load Windows. Poor stupid, stupid person.

The shame is that you left out the Mac flames.

I would have gone for the Linux being booted and running the Windows version of VMWare to run OSX.

But then I am too smart and funny to troll. But you guys always suck me in.

Anyone that can't immediately see how dumb this parent is should refrain from modding this thread.

ob (1)

Mipoti Gusundar (1028156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813739)

I for one am werrcoming our new lowcost outoucing overrolds!

How many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19813753)

"the number of new machines shipped with legal software nationwide has risen from about 20% to more than 40% in the past 18 months"

And how many of those are government owned? Given the number of pirated copies of my company's software I see attempting to register daily, I really don't believe those numbers.

Re:How many? (2, Interesting)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814069)

If your to believe the MS marketing machine , most of the government owned boxed are legit copies.

However knowing China as well as I do I would say the 40% they claim is being shipped to the people of china and none to the government. The seem to like to just take software licenses they want.

And as a side note. Why doesn't MS just lower the cost of windows ? They could all but eliminate piracy in low income countries if they were willing to make the costs less for windows. Just charge a couple bucks for it but , include only the nations language pack so it can't be used in another country out of the box. Surely more legit versions of windows is better then less, even if the profit per disc is less it is still profit.

Also I have been to chinese manufacturing plants, and let me tell you , just because they stop pressing dvd's for windows with keys they don't stop pumping out the discs for windows, they sell the over runs to piracy groups. They do the same with mislabeled dvd's as well. It's pretty weird to see.

Re:How many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814813)

It didn't say "legal software only". So if there is only one piece of legal software on that computer, it counts.

Oblig.. (-1, Offtopic)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813773)

In Soviet China...

Ah, fsck it. I got no idea where I'm going with this.

Oh wait!

In Soviet China, Tank runs over you!

Wait...

Silly Government, Kids know Tricks (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813777)

'In another boost for Microsoft, the government last year required local PC manufacturers to load legal software on their computers. Lenovo, the market leader, had been shipping as few as 10% of its PCs that way, and even US PC makers in China were selling many machines "naked."

That's easy to get around if legality of OS is enforced: just load Linux on them. Those who want bogus Windows will just install over it.
         

Re:Silly Government, Kids know Tricks (2, Informative)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815769)

"Just install Windows over" does not work. Most end users are not technically competent to install Windows on a PC. They want the machine to work out of the box. People who sell PCs and don't supply a mchine that works out of the box will be selling into only a small specialt market

Re:Silly Government, Kids know Tricks (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816297)

So who was buying the 90% of Lenovo machines with no OS?

Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (-1, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813799)

rampant piracy helped establish it as the de facto standard in PCs despite good alternatives.

Somehow, the "good alternatives" failed to win... Struggling with Linux was more difficult, than overcoming the anti-piracy measures, I guess?

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (3, Insightful)

korekrash (853240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813969)

Exactly...I use Linux, but I am an IT geek. I know several people that are NOT geeks that have tried Linux, all of them went back to Windows. One of them was because of gaming, one was a wifi card in their laptop that they couldn't get to work, another didn't want to go searching for comparable software, etc. Until Linux is as easy to use and as widely supported by OEMs as Windows is....it's a no brainer. These people won't mind paying for Windows because of the frustrations of Linux. IMHO, Linux is, at least at this stage, a geeks/enthusiasts OS. Oh yah, and a broke dudes OS....(Universities, etc.) BTW...no need to insult me....I know I'll get moderated to 0 for this post...

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814191)

The moderation part is actually sad, because you do have a point.

Linux software some times can be a bear to deal with. Finding an alternative is always hard because there is 6 different applications to do what you need. Windows has 80000 because it's so wide spread.

I feel linux , ubuntu especially has agreat system for that , it however relies heavily on broadband. Until the people can go into a store and buy Bejeweled or some other game like it and just insert a disc it is doomed to not get a decent foothold. Apple atleast has apple stores where you can buy some apps. While most of the nation is moving to broadband they don't really have the speed yet to download say open office or a decent application to replace the commonly used ones on windows.

Sad part is people just want to hit the button and it works. Not have to read man pages or web forums to get cards working after 3 days of searching. If we could only get the manufacturers to support thier hardware under linux as well as windows we could have a serious shot at getting linux on a lot more desktops.

I however love my Solaris box and my redhat box. The work great stay up constantly and do most of what I need. I very rarely have to boot up a vm with windows.

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (0)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814775)

Manufacturers won't support linux in the same way as they do windows until the Linux ABI is as stable as the one in windows. Hell, there's no point releasing a driver on an installation disk (even in source code format) the way the kernel ABI/API changes all the time, I have enough grief with ATI/NVIdia drivers and their updated all the time.

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (3, Interesting)

bieber (998013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815083)

And making it difficult to ship binary drivers is a bad thing? If the corporations in question would just release source---or even specs---for their devices once, the Linux devs would integrate the drivers into the kernel, and continue to update them through new kernel versions, and the hardware would work perfectly out of the box, just like all other supported hardware does...

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815899)

But the hardware doesn't work perfectly out of the box. There is always hacks and workarounds in the software due to rushing to get the hardware made and the software created for it to get it out for sale quick quick quick! If they published the specs, you WOULDN'T buy it, because its crap, so they don't.

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (1)

kc2keo (694222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815573)

I love my Ubuntu GNU/Linux box. It does what I need it to do. Although I am knowledgeable enough to compile and configure my own system from scratch. I agree that GNU/Linux is not good enough for many mainstream users because of the lack of ready to install software from stores. Its also too bad that many popular gaming titles are not available in GNU/Linux natively. I understand that lots of popular titles may work in Cedega or Wine but many people do not want to go through the trouble of using that. My brother just wants things to work and is not like me who is willing to spend time compiling a kernel or build a web site.. etc. I am glad that GNU/Linux is maturing at a good pace. I hope it does take get accepted by popular game vendors and other PC vendors like Dell. Just my point of view on this matter... --kc2keo

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814997)

Linux has a much steeper hill to climb than Microsoft... Microsoft owns the hill and largely created the hill. People have expectations to be met and you can't easily change their expectations even if you can replace everything with non-Microsoft.

I have countless experiences that hinge entirely on managing a user's expectations as a means for success in deploying OSS to replace commercial software.

One case involved the deployment of the GiMP to replace Photoshop. Most users use Photoshop for shrinking and cropping their pictures at most... occasionally adding text. By first "removing the product" from the need, I identify the functions that need to be satisfied by a software tool selection. Especially when it comes to those very simple functions, GiMP is easy to work with -- you just have to get people beyond their expectations and be prepared to show them exactly how to accomplish those ends. For me, I showed them how to open a picture, crop it, resize it and add some text. NOTHING fancy at all... at least not at first. And then I recite my mantra to them:

"The computer is just a tool. The software is just a tool. You know what you need to do and that these tools can accomplish it. The only thing missing now is learning how to get it done."

It's not always successful but it's certainly more successful than installing software and hoping people will like it. The problem is they know what they know and are at least more comfortable with it than they are with something "new" even if it's essentially identical.

I have used the same methods in gaining adoption for OpenOffice and even a Linux Desktop in some cases.

So my method is simply to separate the product from the function and get the user to focus on the function. After that, it becomes a LITTLE easier to convince them to use alternatives.

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816177)

nope, until people start off with Linux and OSS, they will continue to expect certain things which are tied to MS Windows and they way things "work"( or don't work ) on MS Windows.

So when school systems start using more and more Linux and the kids get familiar with how it works and how they do things the Linux way, you'll find far fewer people switching to Windows. IMO, given an open tool, kids will figure it out, give them a closed tool and they may use it but the restrictions on how it's used will limit their growth and learning. Things like OLPC and K12LTSP probably scare the crap out of Microsoft execs.

LoB

Well, yes. (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813995)

* Umm, what anti-piracy measures? Any fool could (and did) copy MSDOS and Windows 3.x onto a handful of floppies, with all the skill that it takes to use the xcopy command.

* Back then, Linux was about as friendly to the average user as a dominatrix on a meth jag; this had more to do with hardware drivers (or rather, lack thereof) than anything else.

* The other x86 GUI-based alternatives for the typical home user were... OS/2 (insert sarcastic mention of how developers 'loved' writing for it), Geos (well, if you used a Commodore), and, umm... not much else, unless you wanted to lay down some serious dough and buy a Macintosh.

Ease of copying coupled with an interface that really didn't require much in the way of brainpower was what gave Windows its boost.

/P

Re:Well, yes. (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815133)

Ease of copying coupled with an interface that really didn't require much in the way of brainpower was what gave Windows its boost.

But there comes a point, I think, where you have to stop reciting the old excuses.

Where the street price for the Windows OS is the same as the price for a "fully loaded" Linux distro and Windows remains the OS of choice - it is not a Troll to ask "Why?"

Re:Well, yes. (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815739)

But there comes a point, I think, where you have to stop reciting the old excuses.

Agreed, if we weren't speaking of historical context. Back then, to Joe Sixpack, the alternatives (yes, including Linux) were far less desirable. Now that Windows is entrenched, it has to be dislodged before Linux can get anywhere. For the desktop, Ubuntu is kicking arse, but it still has some polish needed, more interoperability with what's out there, and it has that Windows entrenchment thing to overcome.

Where the street price for the Windows OS is the same as the price for a "fully loaded" Linux distro and Windows remains the OS of choice - it is not a Troll to ask "Why?"

Nope - not a troll at all, though the reasons why are familiar enough with a little thought: familiarity, entrenchment... not exactly something that really required deep thinking. The heavy thinking lies in how to change those two factors.

/P

A modest proposal (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814029)

Regardless of how you feel about MS hegemony, there is a certain practical logic to the argument that a naked PC is sort of a wink to piracy. Yes the owner might transferring over a legal copy of an OS purchased elsewhere. But realistically that's a tiny number. It's always a tricky argument to navigate. When is manufacturing lock picking tools a crime? They do have legitimate uses too. The argument is delicate because we've seen it abused, like with the arguments against the VCR, and these days, DVD ripping. One could go on and find all shades of grey (are people who write trojans and viruses committing crimes?)

In any case, there are other models for dealing with this issue that can be argued both for and against, though if we accept that it is a grey then are logical compromises. Namely system like the canadian model where taxes are paid on media and the proceeds, iirc, go to some recognized royalty distribution system. This anticipates that a lot of ripped music should have been paid for and was not, while also recognizing we can't criminalize everything, and simultaneously not over burdening legitimate use.

So how about if china were to impose a levy on all new PC's sold naked. The money would be shared out among a consortium of major OS makers. GNU/Linux should have a place at that table. I'm not quite sure in what form. But one could I think find some way to assist GNU/linux development even if there is no one recognized authority.

If at some point Linux became a major fraction of OS in China it would also make sense to stop that policy. No longer could one argue that naked PCs are piracy tools.

Re:A modest proposal (2)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814305)

Regardless of how you feel about MS hegemony, there is a certain practical logic to the argument that a naked PC is sort of a wink to piracy. Yes the owner might transferring over a legal copy of an OS purchased elsewhere. But realistically that's a tiny number

It's only a tiny number because Microsoft have fixed things so that you can't transfer your operating system to a new machine. Before that happened, it was considered perfectly normal behaviour to upgrade hardware and software independently.

So how about if china were to impose a levy on all new PC's sold naked. The money would be shared out among a consortium of major OS makers. GNU/Linux should have a place at that table.

The whole point of GNU/Linux is that you don't have to pay for it. Especially, you don't have to pay a bribe^H^H^H levy to the government, or to Microsoft, in order to be allowed to use it.

Re:A modest proposal (1)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814819)

Because retail versions of Windows have obviously disappeared, so the only EULA that remains is the non-transferable one.

Re:A modest proposal (1)

BootNinja (743040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815421)

The problem is not one of EULA. The problem is that Windows Activation locks down the computer if you change more than 3 pieces of hardware in your machine. Makes it kinda hard to use it on a different computer.

Re:A trollish proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814489)

Please don't compare installing Linux on a naked PC to writing viruses. It's not even an analogy, just flamebait.

Re:A modest proposal (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814663)

Regardless of how you feel about MS hegemony, there is a certain practical logic to the argument that a naked PC is sort of a wink to piracy. Yes the owner might transferring over a legal copy of an OS purchased elsewhere. But realistically that's a tiny number. It's always a tricky argument to navigate. When is manufacturing lock picking tools a crime? They do have legitimate uses too. The argument is delicate because we've seen it abused, like with the arguments against the VCR, and these days, DVD ripping. One could go on and find all shades of grey (are people who write trojans and viruses committing crimes?) ...

So how about if china were to impose a levy on all new PC's sold naked. The money would be shared out among a consortium of major OS makers. GNU/Linux should have a place at that table. I'm not quite sure in what form. But one could I think find some way to assist GNU/linux development even if there is no one recognized authority.
Even if a large percentage of these systems end up with illegally copied software - how is that the consumer's problem? Why should a consumer pay an additional fee with promises that it'll go in to the right pockets to pay for something they don't get? Unless, of course, you're proposing a license to ignore copyright. Somehow I doubt that's the intent.

Having said that - its a bit of a moot point. Right now there's a law on China's books demanding a "legal" software install with each system. The devil is in the details of that law - but let's take it at face value for now. All a manufacturer has to do is pre-load a Linux distro and they're good. Or if that's too much - a FreeDOS image that runs a "this PC is working" diagnostics tool. Voila. All legal. And it does nothing to curb illegal copying of Windows.

I suspect the trick here is that Microsoft has made such a deal on Windows that the cost of installing a Linux or FreeDOS image is remarkably close to a Windows image. But with the Windows image, the price comes with goodwill from Microsoft (and more importantly Microsoft's biggest new business partner in China - the Chinese Government). So Microsoft gets its per-PC tax and enforces market lock-in... both mainstays of Microsoft's business plan no matter what continent you're on. And that's what this really is all about.

Re:Alternatives NOT GOOD ENOUGH (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814287)

Back in it's day DR-DOS was far better than MS-DOS was (even admitted by Microsoft employees). Anyway, it "somehow" failed to win. Why? I will let it to you as an execise (hint: .
The lesson to learn is: in the free market, Beta doesn't always win over VHS. In fact it looks like it's like 50/50 or something like that. Or put another way, the free market sucks selecting the best technology. The cause seems to be the myriad of other factors, specially *human* factors when there's an small group of people making decisions.

Opening of a Joke (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19813823)

The Intersection of Microsoft, Linux, and China
Ok, so a penguin, a panda & an animated paperclip walk into a bar ...

Re:Opening of a Joke (5, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813999)

The paperclip says it looks like your attempting to tell a joke....

Re:Opening of a Joke (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814195)

... Cancel or Allow?

Re:Opening of a Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814965)

The penguin tries to answer, but the panda holds his beak.

Re:Opening of a Joke (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815529)

This is one situation where we really NEED the "Ignore" option.

Re:Opening of a Joke (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815563)

Panda says: "In communist China, jokes tell you"?

Good (3, Insightful)

sucker_muts (776572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813837)

This is very good! The more businesses are forced to actually pay for all those MS loaded machines, the easier they might consider using linux.

Go Microsoft!

(This is why I wish copyright protection on software would be 100% succesful: Too many people just download software and keep using it that way, if this would be impossible a fraction of those would pay but many more will start searching alternatives...)

You mean: Windows Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19813941)

Hard to copy - failed on the stores.

Re:Good (-1, Flamebait)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814021)

This is very good! The more businesses are forced to actually pay for all those MS loaded machines, the easier they might consider using linux.

Why do you care if people use Linux or not? Do you own stock in Red Hat?

Re:Good (2, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814237)

A clumsy delivery, but there is one valid question in there.

As for why I care (dunno ab't the oth3r guy)? Well...

  1. it means spending more time on the phone with relatives and friends talking about stuff that doesn't involve the phrase: "Oh, hey, while you're here, can you help me? my computer has been acting up lately..."
  2. at work, less money shoveled at MSFT licensing and other useless costs means more cash that can be put towards my salary.
  3. less downtime @ work too.
  4. watching Symantec go Chapter 11 would be delicious
  5. seeing MSFT actually pay attention to the average and small customers again would be pretty cool

Just a short list; I'm sure others can happily add to it.

HTH,

/P

Re:Good (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814721)

it means spending more time on the phone with relatives and friends talking about stuff that doesn't involve the phrase: "Oh, hey, while you're here, can you help me? my computer has been acting up lately..."

How much you help others is directly under your control. Also, don't pretent things don't go wrong on Linux, because they do.

at work, less money shoveled at MSFT licensing and other useless costs means more cash that can be put towards my salary.

Unlikely. More likely, it will mean more profit for your employer. You're keeping the systems running, regardless of whether or not its MS software.

less downtime @ work too.

This isn't 1998 anymore, you can stop with the "my computer is crashing everyday" crap. Of course, this may be why you AREN'T getting a raise, if you can't have computers running Windows that don't crash constantly.

watching Symantec go Chapter 11 would be delicious

You realize the first viruses and worms exploited Unix right? What makes you think Linux is any more or less immune?

seeing MSFT actually pay attention to the average and small customers again would be pretty cool

Who says they aren't? For $400 I can get a Windows server, Sql Server, Exchange Server + Outlook licenses, ISA, and Sharepoint. That's not a bad deal at all.

Re:Good (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815685)

How much you help others is directly under your control. Also, don't pretent things don't go wrong on Linux, because they do.

Prolly a troll, but I'll bite...

Notice I said "more time" up there, not "all the time". ;)

More likely, it will mean more profit for your employer.

True enough, but then the barrier to entry for this biz raises up from "point-n-click-paper-tiger-with-an-MCSE" to "someone who actually has somewhat of a operating clue". Think 'incidental', not 'direct'.

This isn't 1998 anymore, you can stop with the "my computer is crashing everyday" crap.

If you don't have to reboot your Windows servers at least once a month, you aren't applying patches in anything approaching a timely manner. If anything goes wrong with it and you have to do more than superficial changes, you get to reboot it (and in previous incarnations, even slight network changes required a kick-over). The corp Windows XP machines reboot (on average) once a week from patches, both internal and external (which I have no control over, so kindly point the finger elsewhere in that case).

Notice how I never mentioned BSOD's, or anysuch. Those, while less frequent than 1998, still occur on occasion - but they are mere dressing to the assertion.

watching Symantec go Chapter 11 would be delicious

You realize the first viruses and worms exploited Unix right? What makes you think Linux is any more or less immune?
  1. Yep - but have you seen any lately that can spread beyond a dozen discrete machines at most, let alone seen one running in the wild?
  2. Symantec didn't make their wad of dough off of preventing *nix malware, did they?
  3. Actually, considering real-world results? Linux as an OS, while not (or ever) perfectly immune, is by appearance and proof far more immune to malware than Windows overall.

Who says they aren't? For $400 I can get a Windows server, Sql Server, Exchange Server + Outlook licenses, ISA, and Sharepoint. That's not a bad deal at all.
I can get the same functionality for a grand total of $0.00 in licensing and software fees - and I get more uptime and better efficiency out of the deal, and no forced upgrades or recurring fees on the software side. Setting either solution up costs about the same.

That said, price actually isn't what I was getting at - MSFT is ignoring their customer base by way of increasing bloat and wasted cycles, as well as charging a mountain of cash for very little improvement with Windows' new iteration (that being Vista). I won't have to even mention MSFT treating their own customer base like default criminals: WGA, DRM, PlaysForSure...

...shall I continue?

/P

RTFA (4, Informative)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814049)

If you read the article, you will see that forcing businesses to pay is what Microsoft started off by doing, quite unsuccessfully. Their usual heavy-handed strategy of suing businesses for pirating their software failed miserably, as the Chinese courts were not sympathetic towards Microsoft.

So, they finally changed their tactics, dropping prices dramatically. That's why they're finally making some headway in China. Oh, and some very active government lobbying seems to have played a big part as well. Microsoft seems to be best buddies with the Chinese government now, making deals with them, selling them software in huge quantities ...

Gotta love free enterprise. Corporations don't care where the money comes from; this is proved time and again by Western corporations sucking up to the Chinese government.

Re:RTFA (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814985)

Microsoft seems to be best buddies with the Chinese government now, making deals with them, selling them software in huge quantities ...

OEM exports for the Windows PC generates employment and income in China.

To mark its entry into the WTO, Microsoft was the first foreign company admitted into China's software trade association.

Microsoft Research Asia [microsoft.com] has been based in Beijing since 1998.

Microcoft has purchased a small stake in one of China's largest TV makers and signed an agreement with Shanghai Media Group, the country's second largest media company.

SMG will use Microsoft products across its new-media division, which includes Internet video, IPTV and mobile television. Microsoft Looks for Space in China's Living Room [pcworld.com] [June 22, 2007]

Microsoft's target is China's emergent middle class, where it is strongly positioned to be successful.

Different standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814303)

Maybe Microsoft only requires $5 to consider a machine "legal" in China, while it requires $150 for legality in the U.S.

WGA (5, Insightful)

Jaaay (1124197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813871)

may be a horrible thing but it probably has something to do with this. That and Chinese getting richer. With 98/2k/etc you could used a burn copy of any MS stuff and it'd all work perfectly with Windows Update and everything else. Now with XP after WGA and especially Vista you can still crack stuff but it becomes more of a hassle if you care about what's on your HDD and want updates and whatever else. So I think these are the reasons the piracy is going down instead of Chinese people suddenly caring about their certificates of authenticity and 3 men holograms :)

Re:WGA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814957)

WGA is cracked hard. I can take any porated XP install and make it pass all WGA checks in 4 minutes. It's not hard and most Pirate XP installs already come with the WGA crack tools.

Vista cracked is not an issue as most people do not care about vista.

So your point was again?

Re:WGA (1)

Mazin07 (999269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814977)

That's right. It would be a hassle if you care about waht's on your HDD and want updates.
As long as their pirated software runs in a semi-functional state, that's fine with them.

It's easier ... when there's Piracy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19813907)

FTA

| "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not," Gates says. |

OMG... What a business model !!!

Microsoft would be wise to look the other way (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813917)

It has been precisely the lax means and methods in Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts of the past that helped it to grow so quickly. illegitimate software was even counted in Microsoft's statements describing its market penetration and saturation.

Presently, Microsoft's copy protection has not only been shown to inconvenience legitimate users who upgrade their hardware and the like, but also makes illegitimate software distribution a great deal less convenient. And this is, obviously, to the detriment of Microsoft's present and future market penetration and saturation. Where once "alternatives" were a threat and even a previous reality [read OS/2], people are looking at alternatives once again in the form of Linux and MacOSX. These solutions do not offer the resistance that Windows offers and I think we can see clearly how Microsoft has managed to over-zealously shoot themselves in the foot.

By far the easiest solution for Microsoft would be to remove their copy protection schemes and just kind of look the other way for a while until their saturation once against builds the addictive dependency on Microsoft software that it is presently losing. It may mean some sort of decline in stock values or a leveling-out of revenues, but they would regain something far more important -- market saturation and monopoly control.

Re:Microsoft would be wise to look the other way (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814575)

Don't worry, they are.

**Every** software/media company that is headed to #1 in consumer and small-business categories makes their software a hassle to copy, but that's all.

If you had a half-way decent firewall on a win32 box, you might be surprised how many times windows and the applications running on win32 phoned home. Phoning home is a step or two away from disabling software on demand, so the capability is definitely there and has been for quite some time.

They just want to maintain their monopoly at this point. Linux is pretty well in hand if they capture the dollars that would flow to another company and they've got Apple as their excuse for competition.

Microsoft is such a non-story at this point. I wish ./ would move onto more interesting things.

There is a problem with that (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814925)

If they look the other way too often, then govs. start to notice. In particular, MS is cracking down hard in the USA (via their bs group). How many politicians here can defend MS's practice, if we can all point to china and say that they are getting away with this?

Re:There is a problem with that (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815051)

That's easy, "we are the good guys and we don't steal like the bad guys." In the US, we have always maintained the "white hat" wearing attitude. Everything we do is for the good of the world and humanity. Everyone else is just evil. (yes, most of us really DO think that way.)

So if someone were to point to China saying "look what they are getting away with" the US perspective on it is "...because they are the bad guys!"

Re:There is a problem with that (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815339)

yes, most of us really DO think that way.

By US, you mean Americans, yes? And you are refering to current time, not the [456]0's? Because at this time, I suspect that outside of America, we are considered quite poorly. I noticed a distinct downgrade in Germans towards us when I was there a year ago. And I would have to guess that it is universal.

Re:There is a problem with that (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815407)

Yes, I speak from a United States of America central perspective... and yes, current time. While there are a lot of us not entirely "Proud to be an American" there are still quite a few who believe our ideals are reality in action.

Re:Microsoft would be wise to look the other way (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816327)

It has been precisely the lax means and methods in Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts of the past that helped it to grow so quickly.

Perhaps, but how is that different than all of those dot bomb startups who planned to loose money on each sale to gain market share, but make it up on volume?

Red Flag (1)

grimwell (141031) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813933)

Why not just load the machines with a linux or bsd distro? That would meet the "non-naked" PC requirement. If the machines were destin for the Chinese market, then wouldn't Red Flag linux be the default distro?

Re:Red Flag (2, Interesting)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814411)

The only barrier to manufacturers shipping a "naked" PC would be a legal one imposed by the government. And the interested party that is asking the Chinese government to impose such a restriction is Microsoft. So you can be sure that, if there is any such law imposed, the law will say "must include a legal copy of Microsoft Windows", and not just "must include an operating system".

"legal" = "MS"? (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815271)

Because, in this article, it appears that the phrase "legal software" actually means "Microsoft software."

$3 Windows? (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813935)

You can get the real thing, and you get the same price." Indeed, in China's back alleys, Linux often costs more than Windows because it requires more disks. And Microsoft's own prices have dropped so low it now sells a $3 package of Windows and Office to students.

I do think its unfair that they get a "cost of living adjustment" for software and medicine, yet we have to compete for techie jobs on our own cost of living. They get the best of both worlds. This is another reason why free trade is not fair. They get almost 1st-world wages but only have to pay 3rd-world prices for these items. Tell me this is what Adam Smith and David Ricardo had in mind.
         

Re:$3 Windows? (0, Troll)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814133)

I do think its unfair that they get a "cost of living adjustment" for software and medicine, yet we have to compete for techie jobs on our own cost of living. They get the best of both worlds.

So, what does the average Chinese working type pay in taxes to support those 'adjustments'? Cost of living is also relative... I could, for instance, work remotely from, say, Mississippi, and probably (not certainly - probably) enjoy a lower cost of living than some guy living in downtown Beijing.

Not refuting your statement entirely, but IMHO it seems too simple, and there are other factors that seem to be missing which may mitigate your complaint somewhat.

/P

It's exactly what they had in mind (5, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814143)

Skilled people have the option to go, not only where the money is good but also where the cost of living is lower. Much of the US used to have a lower cost of living than the UK, plus higher wages, but I didn't notice you complaining when all our best scientists emigrated.

However, there are downsides. Life in China by all account is not a lot of fun for most people. Access to things we take for granted is limited to the usual third world elite. It is not free trade is your problem, but the lack of democracy and knowledge about the rest of the world that China's people suffer from, and, I think, the acquiescence of the US population in their country being run by large businesses with monopolistic practices. If you had free trade, you would be able to buy those $3 Windows copies and the cheap medicines in the US. But you don't.

The difference between Adam Smith and Marx is basically that Smith lived in a world of tiny companies and thought capitalism was benign, while Marx lived in a world of growing capitalist monopolies and saw that it was not. What is happening in China is a repeat of the British industrial revolution - poor workers making an elite rich while being kept in a state of ignorance. Just as in the UK, some of those workers are more highly paid (the ones in the cities). How long before they start to get difficult? I really think that over the next thirty years we will find out whether in fact it was Smith or Marx who was right (my money is on Marx, as an economist you understand) and the laboratory will be China.

Re:It's exactly what they had in mind (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814873)

| Skilled people have the option to go, not only where the money is good but also where the cost of living is lower. |

This is over rated, for most people those moves would be hightly stressful Life Changing Event.

| Much of the US used to have a lower cost of living than the UK, plus higher wages, but I didn't notice you complaining when all our best scientists emigrated. |

Just exactly what were the slaves paid? or how about the Irish, slaves were considered to we worth more than the Irish at one time. Hey,I thought they came from your little peice of heaven.

| It is not free trade is your problem, but the lack of democracy and knowledge about the rest of the world that China's people suffer from, and, I think, the acquiescence of the US population in their country being run by large businesses with monopolistic practices. |

Democracy does not include Free Trade as part of its creed. As far as large businesses goes, haven't merchants always bribed officals?

| If you had free trade, you would be able to buy those $3 Windows copies and the cheap medicines in the US. But you don't. |

I remember reading something about tea in Boston once, sooner or later greed sets in and it is taxed or exploitied somehow.

|The difference between Adam Smith and Marx is basically that Smith lived in a world of tiny companies and thought capitalism was benign, while Marx lived in a world of growing capitalist monopolies and saw that it was not.|

Both were idealist, and both brought hardship where their ideas flurshied.

|What is happening in China is a repeat of the British industrial revolution - poor workers making an elite rich while being kept in a state of ignorance.|

I thought this was more like the "Dutch Model" myself.

|Just as in the UK, some of those workers are more highly paid (the ones in the cities).|

Let me see "Tiananmen Square" v.s. "The Ring of Steel" v.s. "The Iron Curtan" well you can take your pick on this one.

|How long before they start to get difficult?|

See the above answer.

|I really think that over the next thirty years we will find out whether in fact it was Smith or Marx who was right (my money is on Marx, as an economist you understand) and the laboratory will be China.|

I not sure Smith or Marx was right. By the way I have some beachfront property I would like to sell you in Beijing with a Caribbean View on the cheap.

Re:It's exactly what they had in mind (2, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815717)

Whatever Marx was, right did not enter into it:

He believed that the economy was like a cake, and it can be shared equally or otherwise. Its not - its like a fire - if you take out all the hot coals, and share them round, it goes out!

He beileved it was necessary to own something to control it: A hire car will still go where the driver steers it, and any fool can adjust the volume on his neighbour's stereo.

He believed the state youod onw the "four factors of production" - one of these is people - owning people is called slavery, and is currently out of fashion.

As for being an economist: there is good sound research that says the more highly qualified an economist, the less reliable his predictions!

in short - Marx: Right: no, Left: yes, Wrong: yes.

Re:$3 Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815431)

ohh good, just another "dummy" North american arguing about prices, cost of life, taxes, etc..

so tell me, i work as a net admin in a "3rd world" country, and i earn 200 U$D per month, so tell me now how much u make a month and what life lvl u have??

with my current paycheck i can buy 1 windows per month, how much can u buy per month? 20? 30? more?
dont come to complain about things u dont know. u just ignorant, and that can be fixed.

Re:$3 Windows? (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816221)

Do you live in a democracy? If not, why are you not fighting for one, and if you do, do you lobby for change? It might sound harsh, but it isn't my fault that your government is holding you back. (Then again, it is my govt's fault that it lets offshore outsourcing and trade deficits happen.)

Government help?! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813943)

History may be unfolding again here, with the exception that having the Chinese government as an ally has huge additional benefits.

There was a saying — in the beginning of our Republic — that a good idea can stand on its own, while a bad one needs government help. I can't find the founding father's quote at the moment...

Although recent generations have abandoned that concept (witness Social Security, and Municipal WiFi for examples), to rely on the help of Chinese government is a new low...

Summary Title (1, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813951)

The Intersection of Microsoft, Linux, and China
Oh fuck. Another car analogy?

Re:Summary Title (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814437)

I think if you triangulate Microsoft, Linux, and China you end up with Goatse.
 

So ship it with freedos ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19813977)

If they don't wna the hassle of loading a disk image of linux on each box, just ship it with a copy of freedos. Its no longer a "naked pc." Dell did it before they decided to "embrace" linux.

"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (4, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19813997)

The characterization of computers without pre-loaded software as "naked" and mandating that software be bundled with PCs by the retailer is nothing more than an attempt to create a barrier-to-entry into the market. Now, instead of creating your own operating system and just selling it, you have to negotiate with PC retailers (who probably have exclusive contracts with Microsoft) in order to be on the same footing as the more-established players.

That Linux and FreeDOS exist is a convenient workaround to the bundling requirements, but it doesn't negate the anti-competitive nature of Microsoft's "no software implies pirated software" BS.

I can buy a television without subscribing to cable TV service offered by Best Buy, why should a computer (for which there more options) be any different?

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814087)

I can buy a television without subscribing to cable TV service offered by Best Buy, why should a computer (for which there more options) be any different?

Any Joe Schmoe can buy a pair of rabbit ears at Wal-Mart for $5 or plug their TV into a DVD player, game system, etc.

The reality is that most people buying computers with no OS are putting a pirated version Windows on them. That's obvious. Requiring all PC's to come with an OS might not be the best way to do it, but to suggest that most (or even a small percentage) of "No OS" PC's end up with a truly free OS on them at the end of the day is just silly.

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (1)

SilentUrbanFox (689585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814163)

No, but naked PCs may get legitimate nonOEM-screwed-up Windows installed on them. Lots of people are waking up to the fact Windows is such a miserable platform not because it inherently is one, but because the OEMs that distribute it preload it with a metric ton of crapware and drivers which run their own little applet etc.

I'm by no means a Microsoft-flag-waving fanboy, but it really angers me that Microsoft gets the short end of the stick because the companies that distribute their software do such a poor job with it.

Why? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814973)

MS is the one who created this piracy is ok approach. They used it in the 80's to kill their competition. They use it now to break into markets (and subsidize via their windows sales). Finally, the reason why ppl are openly stealing it, is because they consider it overpriced for the value. If MS would price it correctly, or start offering good service for the money that they charge (i.e. the linux model), they would get more sales.

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814319)

Any Joe Schmoe can buy a pair of rabbit ears at Wal-Mart for $5 or plug their TV into a DVD player, game system, etc.

...and that same Joe Schmoe cannot be relied upon to stick in his install disk of 'doze, Linux, FreeBSD, etc that he already has ...why?

/P

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19814441)

Because Joe Schmoe is afraid of computers and think they are a lot more complicated than they really are?

My buddy who has an IT consulting business and makes good money sticking disks into computers and clicking "install" highly approve of that.

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815627)

Comparing plugging in a few wires to a TV to installing Linux or FreeBSD is patently absurd.

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815789)

Absurd? The guy can just as easily stick in a DOS disk or a Live CD, to use your rabbit-ears analogy.

/P

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815059)

The reality is that most people buying computers with no OS are putting a pirated version Windows on them. That's obvious.
So who's problem is this? Not Microsofts; they've made it clear that they benefit from this.

Even if you argue that it's a problem for the government (allowing theft to be common place) why "solve" it by requiring Windows?

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814179)

... "no software implies pirated software" BS. I can buy a television without subscribing to cable TV service offered by Best Buy, why should a computer (for which there more options) be any different?
Careful, Comcast might read this.

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815157)

I actually applaud the Chinese governemnt for this action and I think that it is a great benefit to Linux actually.

See the basic issue is that although the naked pc law is somewhat anticompetitive, it is not as anticompetitive as software piracy. In short, this is actually going to help increase the prevalence of Linux on off-the-shelf PC's (and it already exists on a certain percentage of PC's off-the-shelf). In short, now everyone that wants a PC for a pirated copy of WIndows has to buy one with Linux on it first.

Thought my conclusion is limited tothe current state of the Chinese market (where Microsoft does not have agreements with vendors to only ship Windows or where those agreements are not enforceable), I actually do not see a downside here. Except for Microsoft.

Re:"Naked PCs" = Anti-competitive bullshit (0, Troll)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815587)

The characterization of computers without pre-loaded software as "naked" and mandating that software be bundled with PCs by the retailer is nothing more than an attempt to create a barrier-to-entry into the market.

The "naked" PC is a barrier to sales in all but the most technically sophisticated of markets.

The "naked" PC is to the Geek what thoughts of Playboy are to the teen at three A.M. The un-compromised fantasy without any immediate prospect or obligation of fulfillment.

The install never barfs, the GIMP is a champion performer like Photoshop.

Legal software vs illegal or nothing at all? (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814033)

The requirement to load legal software is fine as long as this is not the imposition of another Microsoft tax, which means load MS or you cannot sell the computer. So bare computers are being sold. So what? Microsoft shouldn't have any influence on whether this occurs or not. China has a good number of linux users and several of their own distributions. They are all legal. But, unless Microsoft drop their prices significantly for that market they are going to find it hard going to convert the masses. Business might (?) bite the bullet and pass the increased costs onto the customers but I cannot see many home users wanting to spend good money on software that they can get for free, be it linux or a pirated version of a Microsoft offering.

Re:Legal software vs illegal or nothing at all? (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814175)

Significantly drop prices?!?

I work as a contract IT worker/developer in North America. If *I* quote on a job, I have to factor in relevant license costs. If someone in China or India quotes, *they* have to factor in costs as well.

If their costs are 1/100 of mine... simply because Microsoft is "giving them a break" (and, note, Microsoft development WAS in North America), Microsoft is giving offshore workers a bonus.

Why should it cost me so much more? It makes me less competitive.

Re:Legal software vs illegal or nothing at all? (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814571)

Isn't that what capitalism is all about? You can charge the price that the market can bear, and the Chinese home market probably can't afford much. The prices charged for MS software in the UK are ridiculous (£=$) but they still seem to sell it. You have been paid for the work that you have done at a price that you agreed. You are not losing money by this move but you will find it increasing difficult to compete in the world. Welcome to globalisation. Microsoft have recouped their investment on the software by selling it at silly prices in the West, so they are not losing money as a company although I am sure that they would like to be making more than the $7 a machine that is quoted in TFA. But I object to Microsoft dictating what software should be on every computer sold anywhere in the world. Legal software I will accept, enforcing Microsoft software (if it happens) is wrong.

Re:Legal software vs illegal or nothing at all? (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815219)

In THAT case, you are against the shutdown of allofmp3.com? After all, its "just globalization".

I would LOVE to import 7 dollar Windows into North America, and sell them for 20 dollars. That would certainly level the playing field -- we are just talking globalization, right?

Hm... (0, Troll)

spungo (729241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814083)

...In other news, China and Bill Gates have agreed on a China-oriented version of the popular Windows operating system -- it will be called 'Microsoft Tiananmen'. They've already agreed on the slogan. 'Microsoft Tiananmen' New and Improved -- now with fewer human rights!

here's a solution (2, Interesting)

jack455 (748443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814161)

HP has a Linux-based Quickplay OS for some of their laptops, on a seperate partition, that it can boot for quick access to multimedia functions. This is a legal OS. I belive Toshiba has a similar feature. These would be fine or Desktops as well. Major OEM's that don't want to preinstall Windows should provide a Linux version that can offer basic functions. Or a full implementation, the solution I would prefer.

When Chinese users want to install Windows, or another OS, they could choose to leave this on it's own partition and setup grub to dual-boot. There could also be a self-destruct button that wipes the partitions and formats the drive. Everyone (except MS) should love this as a government's job shouldn't be to force OEM's to help a company sell software. (think RIAA.)

Even as a Linux user I can sympathize with MS and their frustration, but their reaction does not help the cause of capitalism or Democracy in that region. This is very short-sighted and wrong.

Thanks to China, Red Flag Linux [wikipedia.org] is a popular Linux Distro. Even if you're a Mac or Windows user you should sympathize with Linux users' frustratioins with having to receive preinstalled, paid for OSes that they do not want. In China or the US or any region at all.

Re:here's a solution (1)

thebonafortuna (1050016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814769)

My guess as to why more vendors aren't providing a basic operating system on the computers they ship is simple: they don't want to support it.

Even if nothing goes wrong with the system itself, they probably don't want to field any more calls than they normally get inquiring as to why "software A" isn't on there, or why "software B" doesn't work. And why, exactly, does "software C" keep asking to perform certain functions?

I imagine hardware vendors simply don't want the headache.

hmm. (3, Informative)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814261)

when I was in China I frequently had market sellers attempting to sell me dodgy DVDs and CDs for 2 or 3 Yuan.

But I don't think they had windows on them...... yikes!

Seriously though, even in the large multinational Shenzhen office I was in the IT support guy installed windows of a shiny gold disc - it was just how things were done there. The serial number was written on the top in black pen. I guess product activation and WGA make it more difficult for this to work so they crawl back to the conference table and talk.

BTW. Many of the top executives from another multinational always impressed me by running Yellow Dog on a USB stick - I'm not even sure their laptops even had software on - but the USB sticks were on their key rings. I always thought that was a neat security idea. I have never seen that done anywhere else.

no software (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814293)

I realize most people who buy *naked* computers end up installing illegal software-- but microsoft makes it sound illegal.

Jeez - at least Microsoft is trying... (3, Insightful)

i am kman (972584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814331)

Ok, I get that /. readers hate Microsoft, but this is really a story about doing business in China more than how evil Microsoft is. The article really stresses how much Microsoft was hated when they tried the strong-arm tactics of selling (even more than in America) until they invested heavily in the country and opened a research center to change their image.

That really applies to all businesses trying to do business in China - particularly sales. It's actually quite an interesting story of business culture clashes and a good lesson on how standard US and EU business practices don't really work well in China.

Re:Jeez - at least Microsoft is trying... (1)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814857)

until they invested heavily in the country and opened a research center to change their image.

And starting dumping their product into the market at a loss to prevent competitors from moving in. And convinced the government to enact monopolistic laws like requiring "legal" (ie Microsoft) software to be loaded onto each new machine produced.

Sure, Microsoft is trying to do business in China, but they are borrowing a few pages from their anticompetitive playbook in the U.S. in the process.

Where can I get my own $3 Windows? (1)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814673)

As the story states, Microsoft is selling XP/Office bundles for $3 in emerging markets, in what is a clearly a defensive strategy to keep Linux from gaining a foothold in those markets.

This is going to be a popular product -- Microsoft products at Open Source prices -- however, it certainly can't be a sustainable strategy for Microsoft. Microsoft is using its enormous profits in other areas to essentially give Windows and Office for free to the third world. It won't be long before these $3 windows bundles, with valid product keys, start showing up on torrents and other file download sites.

What will be Microsoft's strategy when its $3 windows bundles start eating into its core business of selling over-priced software in developed countries?

Re:Where can I get my own $3 Windows? (1)

mrvan (973822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19814829)

I'm sure they have solid experience with HRM

Re:Where can I get my own $3 Windows? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815395)

I study CS in a Brazilian University. I can get, legally, many versions of Windows for free at my University. One just have to go to the library, borrow the disc, install and go to a specific page at Microsoft website to get a valid key. Then, return the disc to the library. My roommate, also CS student, did this and now his PC is running Vista, for free (I run Linux here).

That's a Microsoft offer to our institute (Maths, Stats and CS). They probably do that because we're mostly a Linux shop. All programs we write for classes must run on Linux (Uni provides ssh access to a Linux server and we have labs with a lot of computers - donated by a company - running Debian, so you can run whatever OS you like and still meet the requirements).

We also have some Windows labs, but most people, even non-CS students, prefer using Linux labs. Every year it's the same thing: a lot of the new students get surprised when they see that Linux is easy and beautiful; many of them end up switching.

-
Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes. English is not my first language.

Re:Where can I get my own $3 Windows? (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19816083)

See... but this is likely based on the notion that these markets will develop... so something that can only be sold for $3 today can be sold for $10 tomorrow. And, if you are talking about selling to China, you are looking at a market that is four times the size of the US market. There will likely be little demand for cheap Chinese version of Windows in the US... The idea is that the cost is in the development, not the distribution. DVDs and packaging are cheap. By selling for cheap, they still get profit, and then they have the entire world reliant on their software, which is never a bad thing if you are a business.

The Intersection of Microsoft, Linux, and China... (0, Troll)

AndyCR (1091663) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815387)

...has a lot of accidents.

Workaround to enable Computer Nudity (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19815571)

If I am a computer nudist, can't I just buy a 'barebones' PC? Can't I sell 'Barebones' PCs that are missing input devices or RAM? A lot of people will be willing to put in their own stick of RAM if they can save $$ on MS OSes P.S. $$ must be a worth saving. If not, I wouldn't be bothered by dirt cheap MS software. I'll just buy laptops from Chinese retailers and get it shipped here (or is that not allowed? eBay seems to allow it though) Cheers!

Fortune biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19815829)

Fortune is like Penthouse for pointy haired bosses.

Not that the Chinese tech market isn't interesting, but Fortune should not be veiwed as a news publication...
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  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>