Microsoft has won its first major court battle against the use of unlicensed software by Chinese corporations - but the company it vanquished plans to fight back. The amount of damages that the Shanghai court awarded Redmond may be small - 2.17m yuan, or $318,000 - but the precedent is large. "This is the first case in which …
missing the point
The point is that they can charge exactly what they want. If you want to buy the s*!t you have to pay their price. If you don't like it, write your own sw or switch to Linux.
If you want to run windows then bend over and take what's coming to you just like the rest of the world has to.
A Good Step Towards Realizing Free Trade Is Two Way Trade
It is good to see a Chinese court taking the first step towards realizing that fair trade and free trade can only work in BOTH directions.
The Chinese governments past practice of uni-directional free trade can not/could not last much longer than it has.
Microsoft's pricing is irrational. Always has been. Always will be.
Take Office for instance. OpenOffice will do 90% of what MS Office will do, probably 100% of what people actually use it for if you don't count email (which could be replaced easily enough with another free or inexpensive product), looks MUCH nicer (yes, I hate the ribbon with a passion), is easier to use, and is free. Does MS Office really offer $399 worth of improvement over OpenOffice? If you actually think it through and put them on equal scales the answer is a resounding NO!
And then there's Windows itself. It's pricetag is jumping at a rate that puts inflation to shame. They can get away with it because the masses will never abandon Windows for Linux and Mac is even more absurdly expensive.
I think the real question here is 'does Microsoft's greedy pricing justify piracy?' That's a question clearly answered in the laws of most nations as no. Basically, you don't like the price you don't get the product. You do get the product without paying, you're legally liable for the price.
Irrational? Not so much...
After all, since they can find people who actually buy it... Why not?
I am willing to bet that somebody at Microsoft made estimations, for each pricing, of how many people would buy versus would pirate it. And they put the price where they thought they would earn the most MONEY. Actually quite reasonable.
OpenOffice is not written as a commercial product. The fact that it is so good is a tribute to the people who have contributed their time and other resources, and the companies who believe that they can make other sales as a result of being apparently altruistic (Old Sun comes to mind). They are entitled to give their effort away if they choose.
But just giving away software is not a business model, which makes it an unfair comparison. In this respect, I do actually agree with Microsoft. They have invested effort producing the software, they are entitled to get reward for their effort if people want to use it. It would be their right to give it away, but it is not a duty for them to allow anybody to use it. It is more an argument of value and worth.
Now I'm not saying that people should stop using OpenOffice, but just that they be aware that free at the point of use does not mean free to produce. I also disagree with the prices that they charge, but I agree about their right to charge something.
You could almost turn the tables, and claim that Microsoft's commercial product is being undermined by the supply of a free alternative. This is very similar to the argument that Mozilla used when arguing against Microsoft giving away Internet Explorer (OK, OO is not an integral part of any OS, but that was not what was initially argued).
Microsoft wins in court...
... but the company it vanquished plans to fight back.
Oh the irony!!!
i feel for them....
"During the negotiation," he said, "we felt Microsoft's pricing was irrational. We suspected they had such pricing because of their monopoly status...It can't be that no matter how much you demand, we have to obey."
yeah, that's what we all think too matey, i's just tough shit though. If you choose an inferior, profit based operating system you have to accept that sooner or later you will have to part with some money.
You pay for the OS, then any software you need to install to get your work done. This is what happens when you copy the rest of the world and make the same mistakes we do.
dont like it? then use linux, it's better anyway. And drop office for openoffice which is also better, and drop exchange....in fact you should drop your IT guy for getting you into this mess and making bad choices.
Haaaaaa Love it....
I am a long term devotee of shafting Microsoft, their shit customer service, rotten software and the complete lack of ethics driving pure corporate greed - and incompetence.
Yeahhhhh lets see the Chinese software sector really get behind their China Linux apps and shaft MS big time.
"Not only do we NOT use pirated versions of your junk, we got better software at a better deal - elsewhere....."
I wonder how many people here are against piracy when it doesn't involve M$? [The $ sign is their to represent how they want money etcetera] and just apply the rules as and when.
You wrote :-
"I wonder how many people here are against piracy when it doesn't involve M$? ... and just apply the rules as and when."
Your point? Have you read the comments here? Most I've read say that the Chinese company deserved spanking. OK, for even using MS stuff, let alone pirating it. I make the point (as have others here) that these prosecutions are welcome because they might make these companies to look at alternatives to MS for once.
MS are between two stools. They don't weant to prosecute too much because they don't want companies to turn to Linux and Open Office.
Office at USD30?
As opposed to EUR300?
I would buy it.
In other news, mousy Microsoft plucks hair out of sleeping Tiger, claims win. "Entrenched attitude" indeed. How about worldview? It's as impossible to change as the US "we can bomb you" attitude.
...I sympathize with both sides, but the anon-coward above is right. Office is crap, Windoze is crap. If everyone could learn to make money from service & support, linux would be perfect for the world. Also i believe the internets would be a slightly safer place to work & play.
I loathe many big companies like m$, but it is easy to hate the evil big guy when you're smaller. Lately it seems m$ is starting to turn towards people who believe in this philosophy. They aren't about to change their business model overnight, but they must realize the Jobsian cult is isolating themselves. There is an advantage to be had here.
where to buy
genuine M$ software here in China is widely unknown. But I have only to walk 500m (6 football fields) to find a copy XP SP3 for 4 RMB.
The whole system here is solidly based on M$. Everything would come to a screeching halt if Ballmer ever could (or wanted to) switch off illegal copies. Downloadable government forms and documents are .doc only. Naturally. To a Chinese mind only things that cost a lot of money (and then are copied or faked) can be good. So pdf must be crap. Linux must be crap. China Merchant Bank and Bank of China require IE to access your account online (the others probably too), not even firefox for windows works. Linux fanbois would run out of money faster than Greece ...
you may be in luck
Either China is going fully join the international community including respecting others IP (direction they seem to be heading, as billionaires hate uncertainty) or else they will continue to just steal as much IP as they can, nationalize everything (OMFG would laugh so hard at USA companies if this happens), seal themselves off and hope they can ignore rest of world (natural tendency of their government until about 25 years ago). Your argument btw that everything is based on M$ crap there just gives M$ leverage over China. I have a feeling based on trends in the USA and how they badly want to end support for easily pirated XP that the Chinese will be in for a rude shock when they move over to Win7 and Windows UpYourButt Disadvantage in the next few years. Yes it can be pirated also but generally comes with trojan horses and eventually even the Chinese will learn Russians owning your banking details sucks worse then having to learn a new better safer more secure free OS such as BSD, Linux, lol hell even OpenSlowaris.
As someone who hasn't had an officially licensed version of windows since 98 (which came on a computer I bought), I might have actually stayed with legit versions had the price been reasonable. I was 21 when XP came out, and there aren't too many 21 year olds who want to burn an entire paycheque just to buy a copy.
Kept XP around in case I ever need it but made the switch to Linux a couple years ago, haven't looked back. Mind you the switch was easy, MS made sure most games only came out for the xbox (which I don't own), and I used mainly open source software under windows for everything else for about the last 5 years.
If only... ...you had morals?
Just because you can use it without paying the license does not mean that it is right to do so, even if the costs appear prohibitive. It's a choice between paying the money, or not using the software. There is no middle ground.
I applaud your decision to switch to Linux, but not your admission that you used XP without a license.
And I feel at least partly justified in throwing stones, because I am not in a glass house. I don't believe that I have ever owned a system running an unlicensed version of Windows. I've always possessed licenses, even if I did buy some of them second-hand (OK, Microsoft try to ban that practice as well, but I wonder how many valid, legally transferable retail Windows COA's have gone to landfill, or have been lost during recycling). The only systems I currently own without a Windows license run Linux, and always have.
What I think many people are missing is that China is notorious about not respecting anyone else's copyrights, patents, or anything else. They take what they want when they want. The landmark here is that MS won the case. The big thing, in my opinion, is the attitude of the respondent, "they (MS) think they can charge whatever they want". Obviously, someone needs an introduction to the free market economy. Yes, MS can charge what they want. Don't like it? Go Unix, Linux, BSD, or a host of other solutions. As the user, you do not get to tell the developer what they can charge, only what you will pay. If they say "no deal", when you pay their price or do without. They chose to pirate the Software, they got caught, they refuse to negotiate with MS for licenses, and now they got slapped by a judge. These guys are not the "victim" here, they're little better than MS is their attitude and behavior. They just got slapped because they couldn't out-bribe MS.
What can 1 say
whichever way you cut it, "bastards". Really !!!!!!!!!!!!!!. did anyone really win, I believe this is a true example of "peppercorn".
"Office is crap, Windoze is crap"
No, they aren't.
As for Microsofts pricing being irrational - not at all. Open Office is free. That people are still buying Microsoft Office is irrational. Microsoft finding the price point that people will pay for its product is good marketeering.
Block the Chinese keyboard driver from working, should resolve the problem.
the first few shots of heroin are always free
Bill Gates said "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." * Speech at the University of Washington, as reported in "Gates, Buffett a bit bearish" CNET News (2 July 1998) 
The Chinese it seems, having swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker, now have to figure out if they are smart enough to migrate to free software before Microsoft rips their intestines out.
Copsewood strikes the nail on the head ;
for more information on this matter, readers might want to consult the two articles found at «http://autotelic.com/windows_is_free» and «http://autotelic.com/no_really_-_windows_is_free», respectively. Note also that while China has its own Linux versions, which can be downloaded free of charge, the Chinese authorities don't seem to be too terribly concerned that the vast majority of Chinese, including strictly regulated internet cafés, seem to use out-dated, often pirated versions of Microsoft OS and apps - thus, IE6 (!) still enjoys a browser market of nearly 60 % in the PRC, according to StatCounter (http://preview.tinyurl.com/32ewj9h ) - with all the security problems this engenders. Those given to conspiracy theories might wonder if this very lack of security might in certain circles be considered a reason to refrain from (effectively) discouraging this practice....
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