In China illegal versions of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system were available — a week before it officially was to go on sale.
People in Mainland China have been able to buy pirated copies of the newest version of Microsoft’s Windows franchise this month for just RMB20, or $2.93, each — a fraction of list prices, which are as high as $320.
Windows 7’s “early release” in China underscores the challenge major software makers face in trying to make money in China, the world’s second-largest PC market, after the United States.
The US research firm IDC estimated that about 80% of software sold in China last year was pirated. While that figure is falling, it is still double the global average and about four times the average in developed markets like the United States and Japan.
Matthew Cheung, an analyst at the research firm Gartner, said, “The big issue that is driving piracy in China today is price. If you’re trying to sell a program that costs 2,000 yuan to a student living on 400 yuan a month, that’s simply not going to work out for most consumers.”
Violation of intellectual property rights has been a sore spot in China’s relations with its major trading partners, even as it has cracked down on rampant piracy of everything from Gucci bags to software.
Business Software Alliance, a trade association created by the software industry, said the sector had lost more than $6.6 billion in China last year to piracy. This is, of course, total nonsense. The BSA specializes in pushing out nonsense like this. They are grabbing at a figure. If they think that it is possible that everyone who uses bent programs needs them they are wrong.
It is possible to use a machine on which perhaps only one paid program is needed. Which is Windows 7 or any other edition.
Microsoft tried using blank screens to stop piracy of Windows XP. Everyone switched to a free operating system. Microsoft did a reverse turn chassee with triple dip and everything returned to normal.
The problem always is price. Threaten to switch all of a company over to Linux and use only public domain programs and then see how fast the Microsoft’s in this world will bring down the price.
In China many say that conditions should improve as software makers cut prices, users become more educated and living standards rise.
Qian Liyong, director of the EU-China Project on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights, based in Beijing said, “Piracy in China is reducing year by year because the government is placing more attention on it and prices between the real and fake have narrowed.
New York Times reports that Gartner estimated that software piracy rates in Mainland China would fall as low as 50% by 2012, putting it almost on a par with rates in developed Asian markets like Hong Kong.