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Microsoft’s Ballmer goes toe-to-toe with Chinese President over piracy

by Pete Mason on 21 January 2011, 16:39

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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How do you tell the leader of one of the world's most powerful countries - and economies - that his government's record on intellectual property abuse is unacceptable? Apparently, you send Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to do it for you.

President Obama recently welcomed a Chinese envoy - including President Hu - to the White House as a part of ongoing discussions on trade and international co-operation. Of course, intellectual property is always a hot-button issue at these talks given China's poor record on piracy, especially when it comes to digital media and software.

So Obama called in the big guns, bringing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer into the discussion. The software giant is known for its ongoing attempts to curb piracy, and as recently as last October, Ballmer went on record to slam the "extreme" use of illegal software by Chinese businesses.

Although details on what was actually said are scant, President Obama noted that "we were just in a meeting with business leaders, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only one customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China.  And so can we get better enforcement, since that is an area where America excels -- intellectual property and high-value added products and services".

A TechNet blog post added that Ballmer raised, "[the] importance of intellectual property, or IP, to the future success and economic development of both countries, and noted the serious IP piracy problems that currently exist in China".

Although we can't be sure, we assume Ballmer spent most of the meeting shouting, running around the room and generally trying to get the Chinese delegates hyped-up.



HEXUS Forums :: 74 Comments

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If they priced their product more reasonably and there were more benefits for buying it, then I'd imaging more people would buy it. In a global market, the price has got to be set somewhere, and I'm afraid that although it's a great bit of software, £80 per basic home copy, and £100+ for a business copy (for W7 Pro) is too much IMHO.

Lets face it, who actually gets £200 worth of use out of a version of Windows and Office. I've bought them several times over, and the fact that when a new version comes out you get a misery upgrade discount really IRKS me. Sooner pay for an annual subscription or a household license.
Although i'm as quick to grumble as you are about pricing, when i stop to think about my actual use of Microsoft I.P., in terms of cost verses time used, I reckon that it's one of the best value things i've bought.
Certainly more so than something like my TV, or my car.
(I recognise the flaw in my argument is that I need also to have hardware to use the software, however i'm looking from the point of view that i had WinXP and Ubuntu - and therefore the hardware - anyway, and buying Win 7 was my choice).
Probably only my iPhone runs it close from a cost vs time used perspective.
I can see Hu yawning from here.
MSIC
Although i'm as quick to grumble as you are about pricing, when i stop to think about my actual use of Microsoft I.P., in terms of cost verses time used, I reckon that it's one of the best value things i've bought.

Same here, I don't see how anyone could say it's overpriced considering what it does and how often you use it.
MonkeyL
Same here, I don't see how anyone could say it's overpriced considering what it does and how often you use it.
I constantly use my keyboard, it didn't cost me £120 to acquire it.