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May 21, 2007

Good news and bad news on Asian piracy of Microsoft products

Posted by David Hunter at 10:42 AM ET.

The good news is that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was in Vietnam to sign a software deal requiring all of Vietnam’s government offices to use licensed software. Later in the day he was at the ceremony where the state-run Vietindebank signed up for 6,000 Microsoft licenses.

As I’ve mentioned before, this seems to be part of Microsoft’s “gentle” strategy in dealing with governments of countries where piracy is rampant. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vietnamese government got quite a break on the deals.

The bad news is that Microsoft’s antipiracy efforts have drawn a strike by retailers in India:

Computer dealers in India are growing increasingly agitated at Microsoft’s attempts to clamp down on the use of pirated software in the country.

Dealers in the western state of Gujarat went on strike last week to protest notices served by Microsoft to 13 dealers, accusing them of shipping pirated copies of Windows with their computers. They now hope to extend the action to other states.

Bharat Randeri, president of the South Gujarat Information Technologists Association (SITA), said it is never a policy at computer dealers in the state to install pirated software. “We are not installing pirated software on the computers we sell,” he said on Monday.

However, he admitted that individual staff sometimes install pirated software at the request of customers. Some customers want to use pirated software because the price of legal software is too high for them, Randeri said.

SITA hopes to extend its strike action to other states and is prepared to try and pressure Microsoft into withdrawing its complaint notices.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. 

Last but not least (and not strictly Asian), the crackers apparently have developed a clean hack for Vista copy protection. Microsoft says it is studying the problem.

Filed under Executives, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Licensing, Microsoft, OS - Client, Piracy, Steve Ballmer, Windows Vista

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