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.