Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has lashed out at rampant software piracy in China, and he’s being specific: Its Chinese businesses who’re the big culprits. MS is working with the government to stamp it out, and bring the dollars rolling back.
Ballmer was speaking at a business conference in Madrid, and though Ballmer’s not one typically to mince his words during a public speaking event, it’s unusual to hear such pointyness in his normally lightly delivered text. Business piracy has improved all around the world, he noted, but in China the situation is terrible: Business piracy is “more extreme” than piracy among the average consumer. “We are working with the Chinese government” Ballmer went on, noting that the effort is trying to “improve the situation but it is a real problem.”
Enterprise use of MS products is the company’s real meat-and-drink. Entire multinational organizations buy MS’s operating systems for all their employees at once, and the corporate world has been so brainwashed into thinking businesses couldn’t run without PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook that it’s hard for competitors to get a look-in, even with arguably better products (and it’s taken a revolution like the iPad to really perk up enterprise customers to the benefits of Apple in a massive way). It’s this pseudo-subscription revenue stream (which is among the best kind to have) that MS is trying to protect, since it’s noted that MS income from China is less than its Indian and South Korean income, even though China’s GPD is more than double these two nations’ combined.
Piracy in China, where state and public opinions about stealing someone else’s IP seem radically different to those in the West, is a well-known problem–and Ballmer’s even spoken on the matter before. Back in May U.S. regulators published a global piracy concern list, with China prominently at the top.
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