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Microsoft

Beijing Snubs Microsoft For Municipal PCs' Software 393

jsse points to this Gartner article which says "that on 28 December 2001, the Beijing municipal government selected among seven vendors to provide operating system (OS), office automation (OA) and antivirus software for government PCs. Beijing selected six bidders, including Red Flag, but rejected the seventh bidder, Microsoft -- the only one that was not selected. Gartner listed several reasons why Microsoft lost the bid, but missed out the famous rumor that Microsoft has built a bad relationship with China since the first Chinese Windows 95, which was written by Taiwan programmers, contains Easter eggs carrying anti-communist messages."
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Beijing Snubs Microsoft For Municipal PCs' Software

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  • by AIndividual ( 467778 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:04PM (#2790935) Homepage
    That's a pretty funny rumor, whether it be true or not is of course another story....

    The article points out that China can greatly benefit by not having a powerhouse like Microsoft established in China. Chinese companies will have a much better opportunity to gain a foothold in China now.
    • This is pretty old news, or at least a variation on a fairly tired theme. This was a discussion topic even back before Windows 2000 came out (and probably earlier): China doesn't want to use Microsoft. The code is kept secret, so they don't know whether the US (via Microsoft) is spying on them. And with all of the news about the FBI's ability to log keystrokes, you really can't blame them for being paranoid.

      Beijing selected only Chinese companies, including Red Flag (for its Linux OS) and Kingsoft (for its WPS Office OA product).

      I think this here is the entire point. China is trying to support its industry. Microsoft seems to be doing fine without their help and the Chinese tech industry needs the boost.

      China does see itself as the leader of the Developing World. With this in mind, the government there might also be thinking of trying to access IT markets in its region. India might be in a position to do that if it weren't for the massive brain-drain they are suffering due to open immigration. China, on the other hand, has a trapped workforce which it could potentially exploit to create the products it needs to gain a share in outside markets.

      BTW, Noam Chomsky was just paraphrasing Voltaire:

      Je ne suis pas d'accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire.
      `I do not agree with what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it.'

  • by crumbz ( 41803 ) <<remove_spam>jus ... spam>gmail...com> on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:08PM (#2790944) Homepage
    It appears that the Chinese understand the importance of a domestic software industry in the 21st century and are taking steps to improve their own. Choosing Linux immediately gives them a worldwide devloper network that rivals any private corporation, including Microsoft. If we gaze into the crystal ball to 10-15 years from now, the sheer savings in licensing alone will catapult them into the world arena. They have a captive market of 1.2 billion users that rivals North America, Western Europe and the Pac-Rim. Granted, it may take 20-30 years for the network infrastructure and standard of living to rise to a 50% market penetration of PCs but I don't see this as a good thing for M$.
    • by bmajik ( 96670 )
      Disclaimer: IANAROC (I am Not A Resident Of China)

      I just took one of those fancy "heres how the other half lives" college courses.

      How will reducing software licensing costs transform china in 30 years, when its been an agrarian society for thousands, and poverty stricken for a couple hundred, at least ?
      • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <ChristianHGross@ y a h o o.ca> on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:51PM (#2791073)
        "How will reducing software licensing costs transform china in 30 years, when its been an agrarian society for thousands, and poverty stricken for a couple hundred, at least ?"

        Many countries have been agrarian societies. But some countries in the last 100 years transformed themselves. For example France is one of the few countries in the world that is 100% self sufficient in terms of feedding itself. But throughout that time France organized and modernized itself. Hence they have more money and a better standard of living.

        But the catch in the loop is that to take advantage of automation you need a specific sum of money. And you cannot become modern without the automation. Hence by lowering the cost to entry a society can transform itself.

        Way back when with a 100 USD you actually used to get quite a bit of software.
      • Disclaimer: IANAROC (I am Not A Resident Of China)
        I just took one of those fancy "heres how the other half lives" college courses.


        Yes, thank-you for sharing with us how ignorant the American education system leaves you.

        How will reducing software licensing costs transform china in 30 years, when its been an agrarian society for thousands, and poverty stricken for a couple hundred, at least ?


        First of all, while my ancestors (the celts) were still painting their faces and living in thatch huts (yours too if you are anglo-saxon descended), the Chinese had already developed the most effecient system of agriculture on the planet, mining and metalurgy, astronomy and mathematics, gunpowder and rocketery, government beauracracy, silk clothing, medicine and hygeine shall I go on?

        Secondly, if you have ever been to China (and I have three times and have lived in Hong Kong for a year), you would realise that the Chinese ALREADY have the social and cultural structure to adapt to science, engineering and technology extremely quickly. If you visit Taiwan or Hong Kong you can see this first hand.
        The only three things holding back the Peoples Republic of China in becoming a "first world", technologically advanced country is
        (a) restricted access to information due to govt. policies
        (b) lack of commercial and government transparency in financial transactions
        and (c) lack of infrastructure development outside of the major cities.

        If these three problems can be solved in the next five years, then within twenty years China will be the most technologically advanced and wealthiest nation on earth. Actually, the nation state is fading as a power, so perhaps I should say Chinese corporations will be the most technologically advanced and the wealthiest on Earth.

        Now to address the original point, the Internet is one of the most tranformative technologies developed for 200 years. Equivalent to the development of the printing press. Used the right way, it has the potential to transform society as we know it.

        In order to access the internet, you need a computer with a modem, an operating system that makes it easy to connect to the internet and an e-mail client and browser. Linux is an OS perfectly suitable for these requirements.
        If you are a developing country, you need access to these resources as cheaply as possible, and paying the Microsoft tax does not meet that criteria.

        Almost half the cheap motherboard manufacturers are now in Southern China around ShenZhen. All but two CPU foundries are in Taiwan. The only resource that China doesn't have immediate cheap access to is CPU design.

        However, the majority graduates from American universities with the capability to work on CPU design are Indian or Chinese. When China's govt. begins to relax it's authoritarian grip, and the middle class in the cities become wealthy, these graduates will return home and begin work for Chinese companies working on designing consumer grade CPUs. China already leads the world in super-conductor research.

        At this point, Chinese consumers and companies will have direct access to cheap hardware, and the best, most robust software in the world FREE! The take-up of computing technology will accelerate past the West.

        Then, once there are ~500 million active users, Chinese software companies will be able to create incredible software, and sell it over the Internet. Even if they only make US$1 per sale, each title will make them hundreds of millions of dollars.

        This will spur the creation of a software 'gold-rush'. Software development will explode in every conceivable area and for every conceivable application. Transport, manufacturing, government, business management, distribution, mining etc etc.

        This software 'gold-rush' will in turn tranform every other aspect of China's commercial and productive development.

        If you want to see 'Old China', I suggest you go now. Because in twenty years, there will be nothing left of it.
  • by unformed ( 225214 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:12PM (#2790954)
    "All Your Base Belong To Us!" would probably be a really bad thing for trying to get on their good side...
  • Linux in Shools (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GSAlien ( 547456 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:13PM (#2790957) Homepage
    We have seen several different governmental organizations move to Linux over the past year, if the trend continues, does this increase the chance of Linux becoming the major OS in schools? Apple made a strong push to introduce the Macintosh to the education market, and as a result, they are still the primary computers at many elementary, middle and highshools in America. This could be a great way to introduce Linux to the general population.
    • Re:Linux in Shools (Score:3, Interesting)

      by srw ( 38421 )
      I was recently contacted by a school division interested in switching entirely to Linux servers and desktops. Their reason was that another school division nearby was hit with a Microsoft "audit" after refusing to get rid of their Linux servers.

      The school division I work for has said that if they're ever hit with a Microsoft audit, all their computers will have Linux on them so fast. Microsoft is really beginning to piss people off with their tactics. They might just do themselves in in the educational market.
  • by frostgiant ( 243045 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:13PM (#2790959)
    The Microsoft XBox, as popular as it may become, also will not be sold in China. As you may know, Microsoft looses money on each XBox they sell. With the realization that piracy is highly rampant in China and they will not sell much software, the console will not be sold there.

    Go here if you want to read up a little more on it... http://www.lik-sang.com/catalog/news.php?artc=2380
  • by PoiBoy ( 525770 ) <brian AT poiholdings DOT com> on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:15PM (#2790966) Homepage
    I noticed in the article that there was a passage saying that the open source nature of open source software appeals to Communist China.

    First, let me state that I am a capitalist and firmly believe in the rights of companies and organizations to develop closed-source software and charge money for it. Many of my most frequently used programs (all for Linux) are closed-source and cost me a pretty penny to acquire. I believe in paying for software when I provides me with the services I need.

    However, I also use open source software from time to time. Although many teenage Slashdotters seem to think that open source is necessarily good and commericial software is automatically evil, I believe the two paradigms can continue to exist side by side ad infinitum.

    My contributing code for free to an open source project does not diminish my standing as a capitalist. Open source software is great. However, just because software is available for free (as in beer) does not make it a communist product.

    • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gma ... m minus language> on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:20PM (#2790982) Homepage
      Geeze, don't be so paranoid, nobody's accusing you of being a communist...
      • He's not exhibiting paranoia, he's exhibiting ultrasensitivity. Those are not the same thing.
      • Just for the record:

        I am a Socialist (though i do agree with Communist thought about public/private capital issues, just not that democracy is worthless. Think Mao vs. Marx). I use GNU/Linux because it appeals to my sense of morality (the same one set that aligns my politics).

        Now, anyone who is a raving McCarthy-ite (USofAmerican) who hears "Communist" and thinks "Fascist" should PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go here [politicalcompass.org] to understand how these are not the same thing. You will be presented a quick political overview and have some simple political spheres illustrated, it will also break the left-right dynamic that pidgeon-holes (and hobles) American Political discourse.

        Alot of USofAmericans will probably have a very strong conditioned reaction to the word "Communist". The reason I bring it up is simple: A) It is On-Topic. B) I live in South of Detroit in Windsor, Ontario - and I have come to understand that Americans (almost every one ive met) has no idea what "Communism" or "Socialism" is - yet they are very certain it is absolutely terrible. I have taken it upon myself to confront and educate. Its my own little 'out-reach' program to counter act their conditioning.

        • The point is not that communism and fascism are the same thing, it's that communism leads to fascism and totalitarianism because that's the only way it can be implemented. By force.

          Or haven't you noticed that the more socialist a country is, the less freedom you have? Sure, many European socialist countries put nice padding on the bars, but they are still jails nonetheless. Which is why so many try and "break out" by coming to the US.

          • Or haven't you noticed that the more socialist a country is, the less freedom you have?

            Socialism does not cause less freedom.

            I live in the socialist country of Sweden and I don't know what you're talking about. We have since long been able to visit neighbouring countries without passport or visa. The principle of public access to official records is a constitutional right. The number of prisoners per inhabitant is significantly lower than in the US and we DON'T sentence innocent people to death.

            I would like to know what kind of freedom there is more of in the US than in Sweden.

            • I live in the socialist country of Sweden and I don't know what you're talking about.

              Think economic freedom. Without economic freedom, all other freedoms are just an intellectual exercise.

              The number of prisoners per inhabitant is significantly lower than in the US

              Try having as diverse a population as the US and see what happens.

              and we DON'T sentence innocent people to death.

              That's a bug, not a feature.

          • I think you made a mistake in presuming that socialism equates to communism. They're not the same, certainly not in the European sense. I don't know of many modern European countries with a large number of refugees to the states, except for those from the wars in Bosnia, Serbia, etc.

            Communism(or perhaps more accurately Marxism) definately leads to fascism and totalitarianism because it has to be implemented by force. Marx recognizes this and calls it the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

            I do think Richard Stallman is a Marxist. His writings speak to his realization that his utopian will never come naturally, but rather has to be forced on people. I find the commentary on this China thing to be very pro-Communist. The article makes the implicit assumption that Microsoft is nasty because they used Taiwanese programmers who put anti-communist messages in the software they sold China.

            I think the original posters message in this thread had reason for a very real concern.

            I always find the talk of McCarthy to be humorous. One can dislike Communism without adopting a McCarthy outlook. In making this comment, the posters are engaging in the same behavior they believe they are speaking out against.
          • Or haven't you noticed that the more socialist a country is, the less freedom you have? Sure, many European socialist countries put nice padding on the bars, but they are still jails nonetheless. Which is why so many try and "break out" by coming to the US.

            Which is kind of ironic, considering the proportion of it's people the US jails. Or how there are people in the US working hard to remove rights and freedoms from people there. (But they are good "capitalists", rathert than "socialists" so it must be ok...)
        • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go here [politicalcompass.org] to understand how these are not the same thing.

          Okay. I did. And while I agree that the two-dimensional model of politics is more accurate than the simple left-right paradigm, we need to look at the distribution of people on the map as well as the map itself.

          In particular, if you look at the dots for the mainstream UK politicians, you'll see that they form a cloud that is clearly stretched from south-west to north-east, i.e. from left-wing social libertarians to right-wing social conservatives. I believe the US politicians generaly fall onto the same trend. That is why the left-right approximation is sufficient for a lot of people.

          Note also that the totalitarianists form their own little cloud at the top that is clearly distinct from the mainstream trend. And Stalin (which is associated with communism for a lot of people) is indeed quite close to Hitler (i.e., fascism).

          Your statement that it's not the same thing is probably based on the fact that they marked the left end of the X axis "Communism". But you will notice that there is nobody there! We have either ultra-liberals on the SW, or totalitarian communists on the NW. So it's all a matter of terminology: you can either associate communism with the (non-existant) authority-neutral community on the far left, or with the traditional form of communism, which is quite close to fascism.

          The two-dimensional model is interesting, but it is probably not perfect either. Politics are a multi-dimensional field, and this is also just an approximation.

          To go back on topic: the current Chinese model is probably actually closer to Hitler than Stalin, because their economy is no longer Communist.
        • "anyone who is a raving McCarthy-ite (USofAmerican) who hears "Communist" and thinks "Fascist" should "

          I think it's interesting how you misuse the term McCarthyism.
        • Nobody should jump to conclusions. There's no discernible reason why every communist country has eventually turned into a murderous regime that loots its citizens, forces them to work without letting them choose their employer, and doesn't allow them to exit. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. But if we had communism here in America, the Bill of Rights would protect us from that. Heck the 13th Ammendment would ensure our right to choose our own careers. Wouldn't it?

          >> strong conditioned reaction to the word "Communist".

          Getting serious here, yes, I do have a strong conditioned reaction to the word "communist", just like I have a strong conditioned response to the word "Nazi." Why should communists be forgiven for their own record of death and misery? Virtually every communist regime, regardless of the idealism of its founders, has ended up being ruled by ruthless thieves and murderers. Elections don't avoid that... eventually, the ruling party always coopts the process. And what good is freedom of speech if you're not free to grow some tomatos and sell them to your neighbor?

          Look, socialism addresses some valid human needs that free markets don't. The hard-core libertarian view explains the economic efficiency of free markets (which is undeniable), it explains why economic freedom is as important and moral as any other personal freedom. But the socialist view clearly addresses the human need for community, stability and security beyond what free markets can provide. A good country is one that balances the two interests. There are many nations that do so... each a little to the left or right of the other, depending on local culture. France is France, the US is the US, Hong Kong is Hong Kong... each has a balance of capitalism and socialism that suits the local culture.

          But communism is the socialist view taken to the absurd extreme of eliminating private property, and that simply violates a right that's as basic as the right to speech. In every country where it's been implemented, people have fled, or tried to. The toll of mass murders committed in the names of communist regimes dwarfs the evil of the Nazis. It just does. And I don't care to hear about America's sins... sure we have flaws, but we don't have the killing fields of Cambodia, the purges of Mao, the death camps of the Nazis, the mass executions of the Cuban Revolution, Stalin's starvation campaigns, the looting of Nicauragua by a family of thugs. I don't know how many times you communist think it's going to take before you get it right, the rest of the world is getting pretty damned tired of this crap. We have to make adjustments to our society as we move into the future. I'm pretty sure at this point that communism isn't the way.

          If can name a country that you think has implementted communism successfully, then I'll wager that there's a either net outflow of emigrees vs immigrants, of the country isn't really communist (eg Vietnam). I know America is far from perfect, but I do know that more people want to come here than to leave. When you come right down to it, is there any better measure of a nation than the fact that people want to live there?

          Oh, BTW... I don't think open source equals communism, rather I think it's the ultimate expression of capitalism, it's the fruit of people's freedom to collaborate on cheap, plentiful computers. I think copyright laws are socialism, but that's for another day....
    • My comments from another board forum
      --

      " ... Now y'all can start a flamewar on which of the BSD or GPL
      philosophies is more 'communist....."

      Neither are!

      Communism - 1) a theory or system of social organization based on the
      holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to
      the community as a whole or to the state. 2) a system of social
      organization in which all economic and social activityis controlled by a
      totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political
      party. 3) the principles and practices of the Communist party.
      4) communialism.

      Communisim is a combination of a totalitarian governing body and a
      socialistic economic system.

      Totalitarianism - 1) the practice and principles of a totalitarian
      regrime: the totalitiarism of Nazi Germany. 2) absolute control by the
      state or a governing branch of a highly centralized institution:
      Totalitarianism aims at suppressing initiative as well as individualism.
      3) The character of quality of an autocratic or authoritarian individual,
      group, government, or state: the totalitiarism of the father in their
      patriachal household.

      Socialism - 1) Theory or system of social organization that advocates the
      ownership and control of industry, capital, land, etc., by the community
      as a whole. 2) Procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
      3)(in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of
      a society to communism.

      there is also:

      Commonwealth (much of the definition refers to non-communist states or
      collections of, such as the British Commonwealth of Nations, and the
      Commonwealth of Austrialia, to even the how it referes to use in US
      history.)

      But then there is this in the definition: 7) any group of persons united
      by some common interest. 9) a state in which the supreme power is held by
      the people.

      And then there is this which gives a very good overview of what Open
      Source Software is: QonetiQ [govtalk.gov.uk]
      - Analysis of th eImpact of Open Source Software

      There are some business practices going on in the computer industry that
      far better fits the definition of communism than what OSS does.

      It is also worth noting the standing question as to why some persist with
      such disortions of the truth. (Could that be classified as "Gatesism"?)
    • >My contributing code for free to an open source
      >project does not diminish my standing as a
      >capitalist.

      Erm, actually it does.

      True capitalism, in the sense of Thatcherism, etc., holds that money is the only motivation, and thus that society will benefit from companies competing to provide the services centrally organised in a communist society, in order to try to make money. Entering other things into the equation - such as contributing to things for fame, respect, altruism, etc. - does mark you out as not a pure, extreme capitalist, since you don't believe money to be the only motivating factor.

      HOWEVER, of course, there is a long way from capitalism to communism, and it is perfectly possible to stand somewhere in between, and it seems unlikely that open source (or even free software) should be place right at the end with communism.
    • "Although many teenage Slashdotters seem to think that open source is necessarily good and commericial software is automatically evil, I believe the two paradigms can continue to exist side by side ad infinitum."

      First, I can't help but see your implicit ad hominem argument relating teenagers and advocates of free software. We all know what you mean by this statement and as a teenager, I would really like it if you stop.

      But even as a lowly teenager, I understand that part of being mature is understanding the views of those you don't agree with. But you fail this criteria of maturity when you think that free software advocates have something against commercial software. Oh, perhaps you truly mean those who have problems with business in general--if so, you are definitely preaching to the choir--so I will reject that interpretation.

      I have nothing against commercial software. But I do have a problem when laws are made for economic reasons and that make performing simple copying and modification acts upon software illegal. Its the nature of software that it can be copied. Yet this is deemed illegal so that people can make more money off of it.

      Perhaps this is seen as Not A Big Deal. I mean, few people are harmed by the laws. This will change, I am sure, if governments begin enforcing these laws. When people are fined and businesses shut down for copying software from a CD to their hard drives. Or for transferring software from over a network.

      These simple acts are seen as illegal or even wrong by proprietary software developers. But free software advocates don't make such a conclusion. We believe that the copying and modification of software is fundamental to the value of computing and is a basic right of users of technology. The technology is there--what law can tell us not to use it?

      So this, dear sir, is what we mean when we see proprietary software as wrong. Hopefully, in future writings, you can provide accurate concessions.

      And don't worry, I don't think you're communist either. But you don't need to develop proprietary software to prove it.
  • What does this article [chipcenter.com] have to do with the "anti-communist messages" that were found in Win 95? There is a one sentence blurb in this article. And after searching google all I came up with was a couple of board postings that were from an e-mail that was from a guy who has a dog....

    Sorry for the cynicisism, but if there is any truth to this there is little credibility behind it.
    • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:28PM (#2791007) Journal
      do a find on that page for 'easter' and you will get this relevant part:

      There are also persistent rumors that the official Chinese version of Windows 95, which was written in Taiwan, not Beijing, contained hidden text (easter eggs) such as "Communist Bandits," and "take back the mainland."

      is that a little easier for you?

    • by Jonathunder ( 105885 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:32PM (#2791022) Homepage
      See this article [infowar.com] which was one of the best I found in my Google search [google.com].
      • Hmm, interesting... I wonder if the Simplified Chinese Win95 from MSDN is the original or the "fixed" version... it's hard to say for sure from the info given in that article, but I might know what it's talking about. When you type a character using the Win95 Traditional Chinese IME, it'll pop up a window with some common phrases that start with that character, so you can complete the phrase with just one more keystroke. I bet what happens is if you type in the first character of "communist", it'll pop up "communist bandits" as a suggested phrase :) [visions of Clippy saying, "I see you typed 'communist,' perhaps you mean 'communist bandits'?"]

        I guess it's also possible that those phrases just pop up unexpectedly if you do some obscure sequence of actions (more like a traditional easter egg), but that seems less likely to me...

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:26PM (#2791003)
    First there was a story about the NSA key in the registry. Then the source code supposedly was stolen by hackers last year. And the law is that before you sell any crypto software overseas it has to get a license from the NSA.

    Why would the Chineese want to open their systems to the US Government?
    • The article also states that China doesn't like MS's use of the GUID (Global User ID) which identifies individual computers.

      Right, and that is not a backdoor. If you believe that is a backdoor you are wrong. Variable names are just that - variable names. Grep through the linux source on your box and see how many times "NSA" comes up, proof of a backdoor conspiracy? No.

      Then the source code supposedly was stolen by hackers last year.

      Supposedly. How come this much vaunted source has been produced yet?

      And the law is that before you sell any crypto software overseas it has to get a license from the NSA.

      No, thats untrue. Certain types of high-encryption software cannot be distributed outside the US; even those restrictions have recently (aka Clinton-era) been easied. There is no "NSA License" to distribute.

      Why would the Chineese want to open their systems to the US Government?

      There are plenty of reasons to dislike and not use MS products. You shouldn't have to invent fake ones to suit your narrow arguments. Innuendo and rumor is just that. I have yet to ever find hard, reproducable, evidence that any backdoor has ever been planted in ANY MS software. The risk for MS is just too great. So instead of making stuff up, stick to the facts.

      China didnt choose MS software because (1) price, (2) source code availability, (3) theology and (4) security track record. There is no evidence to suggest your inflamatory comments.

      Oh and btw, I hear that Linus is owned by the Finnish secret intelligence agency and that he is so skilled at kernel design that NO ONE else has noticed his secret backdoor. Its all part of his plan to bring Finland to the very pinnacle of world ociety, to kill the American devils, and to steal our wealth. His plan is going according to schedule...
    • The 2nd and third reasons are goo, but the first was a huge misconception...

      LSA: Local Security Agent

      NSA: Network Security Agent

      People back when that story was published saw 'NSA' and jumped the gun.
  • by PeterClark ( 324270 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:29PM (#2791009) Journal
    Careful reading will reveal that these contracts essentially effect only Beijing, not the rest of China. Shanghai, for instance, recently negotiated a contract with Microsoft for Win2000. What remains to be seen, however, is how the seriously the Chinese government will crack down on pirating (the major reason for Windows' prevelence in China, as is the case for much of the world outside of the USA and Western Europe) and whether this will prompt a widespread movement toward Free Software. Sure, China is oggling free trade, but will it (or can it?) curb pirating?

    :Peter
    • Sure, China is oggling free trade, but will it (or can it?) curb pirating?,

      Selling a copy of Windows XP for $1 is curbing piracy. If the free market allows someone to make a profit distributing software for such a low cost, the real pirates are those who would have China choke that market with US-style IP regulations.
      • So, I spend a ten years and a billion dollars developing THE word processing application for Chinese writers. I believe that I can sell a copy to every person in China - let's round that to 1 billion people. I sell my software for the paltry sum of $2.00.

        Scenario 1. I sell my billion copies, grossing 2 billion dollars. I get back the billion I spent on development. I get back the .5 billion I spent on distribution. I make profits of .5 billion, a return of roughly 5%. Not much, but I plow it back into my business and begin developing THE speech recognition software for Chinese speakers.

        Scenario 2. I sell 100,000 copies, grossing $200,000 dollars with distribution costs of $50,000 and total losses over $900,000,000. I chuck further development in disgust and advise all my colleagues not to waste their money developing or marketing to China.

        Hopefully you get the point...there is a purpose to seeing to it that if anyone profits from the production of intellectual property, it is the PRODUCERS of intellectual property. It cost much more that $1 billion and ten years to produce Windows XP. Say whatever else you want to about Microsoft - they understand the ITERATIVE nature of software development. You don't merely produce a product - you redo it and redo it and redo it until you've got it perfect. Then you redo it again to take advantage of newer hardware. MS can afford to do this because THEY MAKE A PROFIT. Sorry if that offends you.

        BTW, the end result of failing to curb piracy in China will be a dearth of Chinese-language software - why localize for China if the government will let street vendors with CDRWs rip you off? English language versions then infiltrate the society; English speakers become more prevalent; English ideas are more easily transferred. Chinese totalitarianism breaks down. So curbing piracy still may not be a good idea.
        • It cost much more that $1 billion and ten years to produce Windows XP.

          Why is that? I don't see how highlighting exemplary examples of market inefficiencies bolsters your point.

          But what's really starting to irk me is how the robber barons believe they hold dominion over the definition of the word "pirate". Piracy is an act of robbery. Like, say, telling me that the software I paid for doesn't really belong to me.

          Here's a question I'll waste on an expiring thread in an old article: How many people who rigorously defend proprietary software actually own and profit from proprietary software? If you code for Microsoft, you don't own jack shit. Why do you code? For money. It's work for hire, pure and simple. Code ownership has nothing to do with it. And if proprietary software were outlawed tomorrow, does anyone really think that the demand for software would evaporate?! Bullocks. People would get paid to develop software just like they do today. Except that they would actually be able to continue building on their own work, no matter who they worked for.
    • Careful reading will reveal that these contracts essentially effect only Beijing, not the rest of China.

      Given Beijing's position as capital of the country, your point was...?
  • by Papa Legba ( 192550 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:29PM (#2791010)
    I aplaud the Chinesse on this. They told a corporation that was bad mouthing them to go fly a kite. The whole reason that China is known as a haven of piracy is work done by Microsoft and it's goons at the BSA. The fact that China had some piracy, mainly due to the fact that it could not legally import much of the software, was touted several years ago as a reason that they should not be allowed into the world market. The company leading this charge? Microsoft.

    Microsoft figured they would leverage their way in by calling them pirates and then simply saying you can become legal by pay as a large license fee for all of the stuff you are using. The Chinesse understood what this was. Microsoft wanted a bribe to allow China into the world markets. China told them to go f**k themselves, and rightly so.

    Hopefully this will make Microsoft look twice now at how their fanning the flames of piracy histeria hurts them more than it helps them. Missing out on a multi-billion dollar market tends to do that to a company.
  • Many people have referred to open source at being communist. Well, I don't think it is, but the communists seem to like it a lot. Sure, it may just be because of the easter eggs in chinese win95. However, China being communist and all, doesn't have as many extremely wealthy people, as the US. What it does have is a billion not extremely rich people. The government of these people have most likely chosen *nix as their operating system of choice. The os of choice in china will most likely be linux in the coming years. Someone has to put out a good chinese linux distribution, and write linux software in chinese, etc. We need more people to use linux and not windows. Well, here is a billion of them.
  • Tut-tut (Score:2, Informative)

    by JayJayEm ( 220851 )
    For another (earlier by > 24 hrs) take on this same story, see http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/23548.html [theregister.co.uk].
  • by John Murdoch ( 102085 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @02:47PM (#2791060) Homepage Journal

    The second-to-last sentence in the ChipCenter article explains a lot:

    Jiang Mianhang, the very own son of China's president, is one of Red Flag's chief backers.

    One of the many things that distinguish Americans from the rest of the world--and particularly from Asians--is the American social construct of "just business." I hope you understand, the tycoon says to his beloved, I had to destroy your father's empire and bankrupt all your siblings--but it was 'just business.' This is central to the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movie, "You've Got Mail"--Hanks's character is a big-block bookstore tycoon who wipes the small businesswoman (Ryan) off the map--but she falls in love with him anyway. It is practically impossible to explain to most Americans how oddly this strikes practically anybody in the rest of the world. Particularly in Asia.

    Nothing, in China, is "just business." You cannot trash-talk a country for their laxity in intellectual property rights and then expect to sell them software licenses. But you also cannot even begin to think that the son of the Chinese President is to be treated as just another vendor. The presence of Red Flag in the bidding guaranteed that Red Flag would win the bidding. That's how business is done in China.

    What's instructive in this, however, is that six other vendors also "won" in the bidding--it might be very interesting to see what they offered (such as what OS and what word processors). It might not be particularly surprising to discover that one or more is a Microsoft reseller. One can spank a disrespectful suitor (Microsoft) by pointedly excluding them from the vendor list--but offer Microsoft an opportunity to regain favor by including a reseller (or perhaps more than one) on the list.

    Microsoft got stiffed; the president's son won the biggest chunk of the business. Anybody in China could have told you that would happen. The real story is whether there are any Microsoft-OS suppliers on this vendor list, or if the Beijing government has embraced Linux exclusively.

    • by Red Eyes ( 145902 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @03:02PM (#2791108) Homepage
      But you also cannot even begin to think that the son of the Chinese President is to be treated as just another vendor. The presence of Red Flag in the bidding guaranteed that Red Flag would win the bidding. That's how business is done in China.

      Sorry to disappoint you, but Bush and Cheney are know to have ties to many, if not all, of the major oil companies in the US. I'm not even going to touch on the subject of stock ownership.

      • Sorry to disappoint you, but Bush and Cheney are know to have ties to many, if not all, of the major oil companies in the US. I'm not even going to touch on the subject of stock ownership.

        So what?

        Trotting out the aging bromide about "Bush and Cheney are know [sic] to have ties to many, if not all, major oil companies in the US" is a) silly and b) beside the point. The finances of federal politicians, including Bush and Cheney are a matter of public disclosure and public record. (For example, here's a link [opensecrets.org] to George W. Bush's disclosure statements for tax years 1998 and 1999.)

        What is more to the point is what Dubya did before he got into politics: he was the managing general partner of the Texas Rangers--a post he held despite being one of the smaller investors in the group that bought the team. Why give Dubya the job? Well--perhaps the fact that his father was president of the United States at the time might have been some influence....

        In this circumstance, the presence of Jiang in the bidding process was absolutely, positively of influence. Jiang's company entered the bidding, Jiang's company won the bidding. The relative merits of Linux, Windows, Open Source, or green tea were immaterial. That's how business is done in China.

    • Bingo. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosityNO@SPAMsbcglobal.net> on Saturday January 05, 2002 @04:11PM (#2791318) Homepage Journal
      I've got moderator access right now, and I wish I could moderate this up to +6, because it appears to me that most people have missed what really happened. A lot of people are saying, "Serves Microsoft right," or that Microsoft got their just desserts or something. That's not what's going on.

      This is not about Microsoft.

      The PRC doesn't give a rat's ass about what Microsoft said about them.

      What's going on here is exactly what the article has said. China is a shoddy business opportunity -- very much unlike the USA. Here, we have 300 million eager consumers, and the government is usually more than willing to let whoever wants to sell whatever they want to try to do so.

      China's different. Corporations drool over the nearly 2 billion "consumers," but this is not (yet) a free market economy. And few companies that try to move into China to take advantage of the market ever make money, because the Chinese government is determined to make more money.

      This is then made doubly difficult by the fact that in China, the state is religion, and the system is really an imperial system, just like the one Mao supposedly overthrew and every dynasty before it. And in systems like this, success is based solely on who you know. It's not like here in the United States where people value you on your ability to work hard and benefit the company.

      People piss on "corporatists" on this board all the time. But that corporate system, with a few exceptions, is what allows immigrants to come to this country with nothing but what they could fit in a pair of suitcases and become the CEOs of their own corporations. It's what allows the children of blue-collar workers the ability to become wealthy and respected white-collar workers. I've met immigrants from China, Vietnam, Egypt, Iran, and all over the place, and they love the fact that in this country, if they work hard, they CAN make a good living.

      In China, and most of the rest of the world, you are not valued for the quality of your product or for how hard you work. You're valued for "who you are" -- the son of a famous general, the brother of a diplomat, the cousin of the President.

      This is not about Microsoft. This is about China. Only Western arrogance would assume otherwise.
      • Re:Bingo. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Red Eyes ( 145902 )
        In China, and most of the rest of the world, you are not valued for the quality of your product or for how hard you work. You're valued for "who you are" -- the son of a famous general, the brother of a diplomat, the cousin of the President.

        Rest of the world including the US, I presume, seeing how if my dad went to Yale and gave them lots of $$$, I'd be able to get myself in too.

      • Re:Bingo. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Platinum Dragon ( 34829 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @05:31PM (#2791512) Journal
        In China, and most of the rest of the world, you are not valued for the quality of your product or for how hard you work. You're valued for "who you are" -- the son of a famous general, the brother of a diplomat, the cousin of the President.

        Sure, nepotism never happens [thenewrepublic.com] in the U.S. [famoustexans.com]...
      • Corp. Critic. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 )


        People piss on "corporatists" on this board all the time. But that corporate system, with a few exceptions, is what allows immigrants to come to this country with nothing but what they could fit in a pair of suitcases and become the CEOs of their own corporations.


        Criticism of the corporate system is usually based on the ethics of that system. Ethics based on the idea that almost any action is justifiable by its value to the bottom line. In short, "its just business."


        Its true that the corporate business environment provides a lot of oportunity. But it also exacts an increasing cost as leaders within that system take less and less personal, and generally ethical, responsibility for their actions as part of that system.


        The bennifits do not invalidate the criticisms.

    • "Just business" is just an excuse that Americans have had forced down their throats to promote unethical, immoral, and often illegal business practices.

      If you repeat something enough, it becomes true.

      It's not just business. It's personal, and it's wrong.

      Rich...
    • And by the way...YOU'VE GOT MAIL was "just a movie."

      Rich...
    • To be fair, you should mention how politics is done in the US.
      It at least seems to me, that what the US calls "corruption" in all other countries is just "lobbyism" in the US.
    • "The presence of Red Flag in the bidding guaranteed that Red Flag would win the bidding. That's how business is done in China."

      Which also explains why the United States is a much more powerful country in terms of it's economy.

      We abandoned these concepts years ago because they are not in the long term best interests.
  • This is interesting in terms of OS share figures. One of the obvious things that statistics on OS shares frequently totally ignore is market penetration, especially in terms of saturation. The US (and European) markets are far closer to saturation that, say, the Chinese market, and it is these markets which stand to grow the most that are of most interest in terms of potential future share. Since these sorts of stories may well become fairly frequent, it seems that in the markets which have least been decided already, Linux, and otehr alternative OSes, stand to gain the most.

    ...which is good!
  • Nepotism? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dzym ( 544085 ) on Saturday January 05, 2002 @03:26PM (#2791197) Homepage Journal

    So is this about a legitimate choice in operating software, or is it about nepotism?

    I think, before we look to any altruistic reasoning on the part of Beijing on choosing "Linux" over "Microsoft" we need to look closer to home ... to their homes.

  • If Linux takes such a foothold in china, and chine creates a nice cis or cs program for it's people...

    Linux would far surpass microsoft in servers and desktops by the end of this decade.

    think about it... what percentage of the population does china have? if all of them use linux then Microsoft loses in a really big way.

    and think about this.. add 50,000 chinese programmers onto the linux factor. (and 50,000 is a very moderate number)

    I cant wait for 2010 to arrive!
  • Gartner Group [gartner.com] is a company that claims to provide forward seeing information to companies. You would think that a requirement for this would be an unbiased evaluation of alternatives.

    I am not sure how they can say things like the following and still claim to have a clear view of what is happening let alone what will happen.

    "So far, Linux holds only a slight market share compared with Microsoft's offerings and represents a sensible deployment platform only in certain environments, such as entry-level and edge-of-network server implementations. For mission-critical functions, Linux still needs to catch up..."

    At my work and a number of places I am aware of, mission critical applications run on Linux and typically work so well they get little visibility.

    The commoditization of software built using the open source model is a large threat to Microsoft's [microsoft.com] and other closed source software companies business models. I suspect that Microsoft buys a large number of reports from Gartner Group and they are careful to say things that sound good to their customers.
  • Assuming this is true, it wouldn't necessarily surprise me. However, when you run a company, you don't piss off your customers. You don't mock them, you don't ridicule them behind their back. They're the ones sending you money. You can choose to not do business with them, thats fine. But if you want to do business with them, you treat them with respect, no matter who they are, no matter what they represent.

    I doubt the company itself endorsed such activity, but it reflects badly on them in any case. And doesn't Microsoft have enough problems as it is?

    -Restil

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