The good news is that China’s piracy rate dropped two points, as new vendor agreements with OEMs took effect in 2007 and as more China-based companies became multinational. The bad news is that, with more than 80% of software piracy (source: Business Software Alliance), China remains a thorn in Microsoft’s foot: losses are estimated at more than USD 6 billion per year (just behind the USA with USD 8 billion). For sure, there is the advantage of the installed base and the lock-in effect but that won’t help a company make profits or develop new services.
Microsoft has thus decided to tackle once again the issue by launching an anti-piracy tool targeting Chinese computer users to ensure they buy genuine software.
The “Windows Genuine Advantage” (WGA) program turns the user’s screen black if the installed software fails a validation test. The move has triggered significant discussions in Chinese chat rooms and one Chinese lawyer even filed a legal complaint against Microsoft for installed WGA on his computer.
Microsoft defeated the US Department of Justice. Let’s see if it wins the battle against the Chinese consumer!
P.S.: Has Linux’s time come?