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BusinessWeek Advocates Microsoft Piracy 181

xzvf writes "In a lengthy editorial, BusinessWeek advocates allowing users in China and India to pirate Microsoft software so that it can obtain the same level of market share there as it has in the US and Europe. From the piece: 'If Microsoft succeeds in discouraging piracy of Windows in China and India, it is far more likely to drive the user of the pirated software into the Linux camp than it is to steer them into the land of paid-up Windows users. Microsoft's IP management strategy in China and India should instead focus on securing the victory of Windows on the desktops of all PC users. That may require deliberately lax enforcement efforts against pirated copies of Windows for the short and medium term. Only after the Linux threat lessens might Microsoft have the luxury of tightening up piracy protections, as it is now doing in the West. Microsoft can afford to be patient.'"
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BusinessWeek Advocates Microsoft Piracy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:23PM (#20001025)

    BusinessWeek Advocates Microsoft Piracy
    No, no, you have it all wrong.

    BusinessWeek was just wondering, like, if any of its readers or anyone they know ... had like ... an "extra" copy of Windows Vista lying around that BusinessWeek could use for a little while.

    It's totally cool if you don't want to but, like, everyone's doing it and you get to use each license like three times before they stop considering it 'genuine' so BusinessWeek doesn't know what you're afraid of. You're not afraid are you? You're not going to wuss out on BusinessWeek like that dweeb BusinessEthics [business-ethics.com], are you?

    This is so stupid, Windows would rather have me using this than something else or telling everyone not to use Windows at all ... and it's not like BusinessWeek would spend that much money on Windows anyways. They don't call me 'BusinessWeek' because I spend $600 per Windows copy you know. That wouldn't be BusinessWeek, that would be GiveInToExtortionistWeek anyways. You want BusinessWeek to change to that?

    Didn't think so.

    Fine, whatever, BusinessWeek doesn't have to beg, BusinessWeek has magazine friends in high magazine places. BusinessWeek is just going to go talk to MacWorld or maybe even LinuxMagazine (as a last resort). BusinessWeek is going to tell National Lampoon's Magazine about you, you'll be on his next cover. Oh, and don't expect to get any from Playboy either because BusinessWeek is stopping by his slot right now.

    What happened to you, man? You used to be cool.
  • Missing tag (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:23PM (#20001027) Homepage
    Why is this story not tagged itsatrap?
    • Because it's a troll, not a trap... I only noticed [slashdot.org] after posting an indignant comment here.

      Honestly though, it's not like MS hadn't already set that trap years ago.
       
  • interesting angle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yagu ( 721525 ) * <yayagu@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:23PM (#20001035) Journal

    The headline suggests Business Week could be advocating piracy of Microsoft software. This could suggest some bizarre alignment of the stars such that Business Week is Microsoft-averse, but it's clear the opposite is true.

    Basically Business Week lays the groundwork as a recommendation to Microsoft to extend and maintain their monopoly, hardly an adversarial position.

    I wonder that Microsoft needs this prodding. I suspect they wink and nod as much as they have to to maintain their reach into all markets however they need to do just that. This while screaming publicly about how ripped off they are in countries like China.

    From the article, signs point to the very fact Microsoft alreay knows the strategy:

    Bill Gates has hinted that Microsoft may be open to this way of thinking--and willing to give China's PC users a break.

    Microsoft is eating their cake and having it too (the correct form, btw) [wikipedia.org].

    • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:27PM (#20001091) Journal
      MS has been going after the large suppliers in China. They have. If they do not, then China and India get it for free, and then the western world will wonder why they are paying an arm/leg for crap software.
      • by ushering05401 ( 1086795 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:34PM (#20001187) Journal
        "MS has been going after the large suppliers in China. They have. If they do not, then China and India get it for free, and then the western world will wonder why they are paying an arm/leg for crap software."

        Hmmm... In the U.S. we are used to paying more than anyone else for pharmaceuticals. In the EU there are tariffs on all sorts of things that jack up the prices (camcorders & cameras were covered on this site a couple of days ago).

        You may be correct that MS is going after large suppliers, but your final statement might need a bit more thought.

        Regards.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by multisync ( 218450 )

        the western world will wonder why they are paying an arm/leg for crap software


        That was my first thought. I wonder if pointing out that Microsoft is not vigorously enforcing their license in other markets could be used as a defense against the BSA.
    • Microsoft is eating their cake and having it too (the correct form, btw) [wikipedia.org].
      Another way to avoid this problem is to use the French version: "One can't have the butter and the butter's money [colloq.: and the dairymaid's ass on top]".
      • "One can't have the butter and the butter's money [colloq.: and the dairymaid's ass on top]".

        meh. i'd take one of those.
    • Basically Business Week lays the groundwork as a recommendation to Microsoft to extend and maintain their monopoly..

      When we consider what an abusive monopoly that has been, we have to wonder why Business Week would advocate it. What is a news magazine doing advocating any single business, much less one that has destroyed so many others?

      It's doubtful people actually making decisions read Businessweek so it's purpose is not to inform. Most people who really know what's going on in the predatory compan

    • Duh! (Score:3, Informative)

      by adam1101 ( 805240 )
      Like Bill Gates needs to take business lessons from Businessweek:

      "Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don't pay for the software," he said. "Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

      CNET News.com, July 2, 1998 [com.com]
      • Yeah, thanks for posting that. I thought this BusinessWeek article was like 10 years too late; Microsoft has been pursuing exactly the strategy they condone for the past 5 years or so.

        And I don't know what they're talking about in terms of Microsoft needing to make sure their software is used in China. (I live here.) Nobody uses anything except Windows (and no, they don't pay for it, either). In fact, Microsoft's already got this market completely locked up, as far as I'm concerned. They even do things
    • Re:interesting angle (Score:5, Informative)

      by TClevenger ( 252206 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @04:43PM (#20002209)
      It's a common strategy. It's how Pagemaker/Indesign, Photoshop, AutoCAD, Office and Windows got to where they are. They used either no protection or very weak protection (product code 1112-11111111 anyone?), and turned a blind eye to people sharing the software, and once people get hooked on the products, they EOL the old versions and put heavy activation processes (and very high prices--almost $500 for a fucking office suite??) on the current versions.
      • by moxley ( 895517 )
        Which is why if the price is too high and you have the skills you continue to use and not pay for it.
  • old news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pedramnavid ( 1069694 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:23PM (#20001041)
    Isn't this their strategy anyway? That and with working officials to make sure that all government PCs are running Microsoft too.
  • by Tempest451 ( 791438 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:24PM (#20001053)
    So is the moral of the story is "Let them pirate your merchandise or they might use the competitions"?
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:45PM (#20001321) Homepage

      So is the moral of the story is "Let them pirate your merchandise or they might use the competitions"?

      More like, get them using your product, get them hooked, and then milk them for the next 50 years.

      Like selling crack.

      Back in the late 80's/early 90's, a tremendous amount of not-paid-for copies of DOS were floating about. MS didn't really bitch too much because it was getting everyone hooked on their product and making itself the defacto standard for an operating system (because, at the time, everyone wanted an IBM-compatible computer -- and, that meant DOS.)

      Then, once everyone depended on it heavily, they started trying to lock it down.

      In this case, the author is arguing that in huge emerging markets, you're better off letting everyone start using it rather than risk them running something else. Imagine if the home-grown Chinese Linux distro became dominant instead of Windows -- that's a hell of a lot of people who won't be your customers in the future.

      Cheers
      • This sounds extremely anti-competitive to me
    • by mike2R ( 721965 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:58PM (#20001501)

      So is the moral of the story is "Let them pirate your merchandise or they might use the competitions"?

      That pretty much sums up TFA; and it's a tried and tested strategy that has worked well for Microsoft and others for a very long time - if you want to give -10 points to Business Week it should be as Redundant.

      Whether it will actually work in an environment where Microsoft seems currently unable to come up with an OS which is worth a paid upgrade over XP is the real question. Rent seeking behaviour only works when no one is offering free accommodation with acceptable functionality. It's up to Microsoft to beat Linux now - it will be interesting to see if they do, and ultimately it will be users who reap the benefit of competition.

      [sits back, reaches for popcorn]

    • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @04:04PM (#20001607)
      ...to this article, being that it seems virtually devoid of morality?

      Mr. Chesbrough isn't even subtle about it either--he openly advocates "selective enforcement" of the law to maintain dominance and smother the competition. He goes on further to explain how as a market goes from creation and growth phases into maturity (ie. they have their users trapped) that MS should then suddenly ramp up enforcement and start collecting payback. This is how drug dealers and the mafia operate, not how legitimate businesses are supposed to operate!

      Either this clown is as ethically challenged as an Enron accountant or else he is a masterful troll. I can only hope it is the latter and he is trying to bring "A Modest Proposal" into the information age. I'd be careful if I were him though, because over the years, MS has gradually been moving towards the "Mafia business model" and is very nearly there: They already have the opinion that "if the Chinese are pirating it should at least be our stuff", have "favourite customers" that pay only a small fraction of the US retail price...and they are already making patent "protection money" deals with skittish Linux companies. They need no more encouragement from the likes of Business Week and its editors.

      • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @04:07PM (#20001659)
        ..it pays to R past the end of TFA sometimes:

        Henry Chesbrough is Executive Director of the Center for Open Innovation at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. He is the author of Open Business Models: How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape (Harvard Business School Press, 2006). He is an authority on open innovation, open business models, and more open approaches to intellectual property management.

        'twas a masterful troll Mr. Chesbrough. Jonathan Swift would be proud.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spy Hunter ( 317220 )

      So is the moral of the story is "Let them pirate your merchandise or they might use the competitions"?

      In fact, yes, if you are a monopoly.

      Let me tell you about the economic principle of "price discrimination". You make the most profit when you charge each person who buys your product pays the maximum price they would have been willing to pay for it. If someone isn't willing to pay for your product, then you don't lose any revenue by giving it to them for free. And if it costs you nothing to give it to t

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )
      So is the moral of the story is "Let them pirate your merchandise or they might use the competitions"?

      More like "don't milk them until they're locked in enough to be milked". Why do you think educational copies are so cheap? And the younger the pupils, the cheaper the licenses. It's the same for whole countries - if you're not hooked enough or don't have enough disposable cash, they'll let you grow into a nice and juicy target. Then you start putting the clamps on businesses and other institutions that have
  • this would be a good thing for Microsoft. Their stranglehold on the software market has a Windows-based cornerstone.

    All of us would reap benefits as well - the pirated copies of Windows in these countries are not patched to get rid of security issue, and many are now zombies in some huge bot network.

    Assuming customers kept patches up to date with a legit OS, it could decrease the amount of spam, DDOS attacks, etc.

  • by puck13 ( 102616 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:30PM (#20001121)
    This isn't news. MS has already (unofficially) said they'd rather India and China used their software illegally than use the competition.

    http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.j html?articleID=198000211 [informationweek.com]
    • This isn't news. MS has already (unofficially) said they'd rather India and China used their software illegally than use the competition.

      +1. Here is another source that is often quoted in this context: Bill Gates [cnn.com]: "[P]eople don't pay for the software [...] Someday they will, though. And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade." This quote is from the year 2000, mind you.

      T

  • Why is business week trying to stop MS from shooting themselves in the foot? Honestly-- whether or not you like linux or other "alternative" operating systems having several widely used OSs encourages innovation. Microsoft has been trying harder than ever to create a worthwhile product and a lot of that has to do with trying to stay ahead of competition (especially in the server arena).
  • by DrRobert ( 179090 ) * <rgbuice@@@mac...com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:30PM (#20001131) Homepage
    All my life I have heard... "Yeah... but Windows is free."
  • Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:31PM (#20001139)
    BusinessWeek has built good thesis on a bad assumption. Windows piracy is already rampant in China and India. It's harvesting time for Microsoft.
  • Godfather (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Himring ( 646324 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:32PM (#20001157) Homepage Journal
    For some reason that line from Godfather I popped in my head where Michael told Kate:

    "The Corleone family will be totally legitimate in five years Kate."

  • One of the "magic" MS product keys was all ones? It wasn't exactly a secret - piracy creates market share. MS business practices surely encourage a certain amount of piracy, especially in emerging markets.
  • hmmm, I wonder if there's any profit to be made ratting out known pirates to China's and/or India's BSA equivalent? If they have one that is since IIRC, didn't Microsoft start that organization in the US.

    This idea came to mind after reading how Microsoft put the BSA onto various school districts in the US in an attempt to force them into that foolish Microsoft Software Assurance contract. It backfired and a number of school districts switched out from Microsoft Windows to GNU/Linux software instead. The nam
  • Won't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e1618978 ( 598967 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:36PM (#20001229)
    Things that are cheap or free are soon seen as worthless - Like the Motorola RAZR for example. The RAZR used to be a high end status symbol, but now that the price has dropped to near zero (with a 2 year plan) there is no way they could start charging $600 for anything else even remotely like the RAZR. Once a couple generations has gotten used to Windows being free, there is now way that they would start paying money for it.
  • price solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:36PM (#20001235)
    Seems like it should be possible to eliminate most if not all piracy by reducing the price of legitimate versions of Windows to an affordable level. Like has already been done to combat pirated DVDs and CDs.

    I have mixed feelings about the logic of differential pricing. Companies are free to charge whatever price they please, but the trouble is that in a global economy where anyone can buy anything from anyone anywhere else, how do we know what is 'fair'? What makes it 'fair' to charge Americans and Canadians more than Chinese and Indians for goods and services? Who decides what is a fair price? Apparently it is 'the market', but if that's the case then why can't I buy Region 6 DVDs from Circuit City for $1? Why is there a stink made by companies and economists who say that free trade is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but then complain when they see products sold on eBay for prices that are genuinely fair given the elimination of transaction barriers in the global economy.

    • by homer_s ( 799572 )
      Apparently it is 'the market', but if that's the case then why can't I buy Region 6 DVDs from Circuit City for $1? Why is there a stink made by companies and economists who say that free trade is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but then complain when they see products sold on eBay for prices that are genuinely fair given the elimination of transaction barriers in the global economy.

      When the govt restricts how you use your product, then it is no longer free trade. It is managed trade - and depending
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Certainly piracy is not the problem. It would be wrong to say, here, take this but at some point we still have the right to bankrupt you.

      Here is my proposal. MS gives away most of it's software for personal use, just like so many other companies do. For software that is not given away, i.e. enterprise software, the prices should be formally negotiated between MS and the firm. This is what happens in most enterprise software. Only software that is purchased will be supported for free. So if one wants

    • "Seems like it should be possible to eliminate most if not all piracy by reducing the price of legitimate versions of Windows to an affordable level. Like has already been done to combat pirated DVDs and CDs."

      Since when? New DVD's are still $15-$25 and cd's are still $13-$20. Yes that may be affordable, but it's still not a fair price. That's why I buy only used dvd's, cd's, and games. For me, the used price is what seems fair for a new item (except at EBStop. $45-$55 for a used game? Really?). Prices a

  • Tighten up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:39PM (#20001273) Homepage
    What I would like to see MS do is come up with fullproof piracy protection.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What *I* would like to see MS do is come up with fool-proof piracy protection while the FSF et al launch a multi-billion dollar ad campaign for Linux and Open Source the day MS implements it, resulting in a 60% switch in a single weekend.

      But it ain't gonna happen.
    • by An Anonymous Hero ( 443895 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @04:03PM (#20001591)

      fullproof piracy protection
      Alas, they keep inventing better fu...

      Ah, never mind.

    • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
      Unfortunately, that's impossible. Not supremely difficult (like getting to the Moon), but mathematically impossible (like constructing a rectangle whose area is equal to that of a given circle using naught but ruler and compasses).

      The problem is that there's no way for a computer to know whether any given use of a piece of software is legitimate or otherwise.

      Two ways that you could come close would be: (1) Have a policeman and standing watching everyone as they use Microsoft Windows. (2) Encrypt
  • Unfair to business (Score:4, Insightful)

    by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:41PM (#20001283)
    It's bad enough we have to compete with low wages in other countries but we also have to compete with the fact countries like China and the India largely don't pay for software. I have tens of thousands a year in hardware and software purchases just trying to survive. It's impossible to compete against foreign companies. Already my primary client wants to shop part of the work I've been dealing with to a foreign source because they can save money. The situation will get radically worse before there's any hope of improving. It's competely rediculous that I have to pay many thousands a year just in upgrades while most of Asia pays $5 for most any software you can name on pirate disks. I'm not complaining about software prices I just don't see why they should be allowed to get essentially get for free what I pay a bundle for. My money is going to support their free software since I have to help pay for development costs where as they freeload.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by XanC ( 644172 )
      You have a relationship with Microsoft, and they have a relationship with Microsoft. You're giving them your money, so it's up to them what they want to do with it. If that's to invest it in software to be given away to somebody else, that's their business. Sounds to me like you've got a case of lying down with dogs and waking up with fleas.
    • Look, you can't just go around telling everyone that the world is unfair. It is. 'Nuff said. No one needs convincing. That said, it sounds to me like you have a losing business model, considering the realities of the global economy.

      You complain that foreign companies are getting software for free, but, as a reader of ./, you should understand that getting free software is easy, legitimate, and encouraged, if you're not particular about which free software. Certainly, foreign companies aren't getting free ha
    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )
      You could just start using pirated software as well. Level the playing field.

      I suspect in a few years the concept of "piracy" will be something that is talked about in retirement homes and warehouses for the dying only. On a global scale, without any effective enforcement, piracy will be the rule.

      Today almost nobody under 30 understands there is anything wrong with it - it is just how they get their music, movies and software. It is there, free for the taking, so they take it. They laugh at the "3 steps
      • by moxley ( 895517 )
        I think to degree you are right.

        I also think that seeing how backwards everything is (criminals in government corrupting and gaming the system for their own gain, seeing how the rich get richer and poor get poorer, how many large corporations pay no tax - how basically everything is back room deals and bullshit - seeing how (especially with the current administration) in some ways for the rich or connected America has become a kleptocracy.

        People see that long enough, they see people taking advantage of thei
    • They get everything so cheap because they get paid so little. That's globalisation for you, work and products and everything is obtained from where it's the cheapest and attempted to be sold for the maximum extractable from any given location.

      It has a equalising effect, the cheap labour slowly gets more and more expensive (and by increasing its purchase power drives prices up) while the more expensive labour must become cheaper (and by getting poorer, drives prices down). It's just tough luck that you happe
  • MS is thinking about giving away Windows for Free but with Ads. I think that is better from business perspective.
  • pffft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare@g m a il.com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:43PM (#20001303) Homepage Journal
    the question is not whether or not microsoft should or should not fight piracy in india and china, the question is whether or not microsoft (and business week) understands that microsoft can't do ANYTHING substantial about piracy in india and china

    it's not like microsoft has a gun in it's hand and the question is when microsoft should shoot. microsoft simply has nothing in it's hand at all

    and it's just desserts: in the 1800s, american publishers openly flaunted european copyrights. now it's the usa's turn to be on the receiving end of a growing power ignoring the "rights" of an established power base

    but don't worry about it microsoft, in 200 years, chinaslashdot.org will carry a story about when china should release the nanobots to punish bangladeshi genome pirates stealing chinese biotech copyrights... and bangladeshi and enlightened chinese observers pointing out that the nanobots would have no effect on stopping the illegal conception of pirated organisms
  • Isn't it illegal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thewiz ( 24994 ) * on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:53PM (#20001431)
    BusinessWeek seems to be encouraging Microsoft to aid and abet a criminal enterprise (piracy).
    At the very least this is encouraging Microsoft to behave in a manner that would affect the RICO judgement against them. What would BusinessWeeks liability be?
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @04:00PM (#20001545) Homepage

    Ha-ha! I found some unprotected disk images on the web and installed it on every one of my machines at home. It didn't cost me a dime. Hacked my way around the registration and got it running.

    Those looo-hsers at the Kubuntu corporation don't even know I have it!

    I'm l33t! I r3w1!

    • Bah, I run a real "Pirate OS". I just modded the graphics subsystem to draw an eye patch over at least one object it is programmed to recognize as an "eye". Instant Pirate everywhere!

      Though, I did almost have a graphics stall when I accidentally loaded up the goatse picture... that was one hell of an "eye patch" to render there!
  • Give away the core Windows OS for free. Charge for the applications (which only work with Windows.)

    Move to subscription based application software and/or charge the larger third party application developers a small fee to make up the loss (SDKs, programming tools, license fees for using SDKs/DirectX, etc..) The Microsoft tax moves from the PC manufacturer to the software developers and users. Either way, the customers pay the cost as normal. More importantly, people will choose free Windows, Microsoft

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by cdrguru ( 88047 )
      The "Apple strategy" of making software development costly is a failed strategy, as shown by the ratio of applications for the Mac world vs. PC world.

      The point to remember about Microsoft is that their products are good enough for the majority of users or at least tolerable. Also, a huge number of problems in Windows are due to environmental considerations. If you install hardware with flakey drivers, you get crashes. How many hardware companies are out there developing their own drivers and not getting
  • Only after the Linux threat lessens might Microsoft have the luxury of tightening up piracy protections, as it is now doing in the West. Microsoft can afford to be patient.

    Right, 'cause if Microsoft would just sit patiently and wait, this whole "Linux" fad will just blow over. Hee hee hee.
  • by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @04:12PM (#20001733) Journal
    For the Chinese government and their larger businesses I think their major concerns are not price. They are being "driven to the Linux camp" because they can review the source code and make sure MS isn't facilitating spying on behalf of the US government. This is why efforts like Red Flag Linux were initiated, IMO.

    <tinfoil>
    Likewise, having access to source and their own distro allows them to add hooks and backdoors to spy on their own citizens.
    </tinfoil>

    I realize that the above doesn't apply to the average user in China but considering the majority of the market over there right now is government and business I'm sure MS is more concerned with them switching to Linux then the average Chinese citizen...
  • Firstly: Microsoft takes a profit hit from not being able to sell legitimate copies of their software. Result: bad for Microsoft Secondly: People get to use MS products for free, elbowing out others products, ie a vendor lock-in. Result: good for Microsoft. Which will happen, do you think?
  • Trademark issues (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Codifex Maximus ( 639 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @04:20PM (#20001861) Homepage
    Are not Windows (tm) and Microsoft (tm) trademarks of Microsoft Corporation? If Microsoft allows others to use their trademarks and doesn't defend them does not Microsoft lose enforceability of these trademarks regardless of locale?

    IANAL but...
    Codifex Maximus
    • Are not Windows (tm) and Microsoft (tm) trademarks of Microsoft Corporation? If Microsoft allows others to use their trademarks and doesn't defend them does not Microsoft lose enforceability of these trademarks regardless of locale?

      I think you are a bit confused. No one is abusing MS trademarks if they pirate MS software - the software is still Microsoft(tm) Windows(tm) pirated or otherwise. Now, if a Linux distribution started naming themselves Microsoft Windows (which of course it would not be) I am sur
  • by alegrepublic ( 83799 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @04:29PM (#20001991)
    I wonder what does BusinessWeek gain by being pro-Microsoft. Are they owned by the software giant? Is their growth somehow tied to that of proprietary software? Do they think their licenses will be terminated if they show disrespect for MS? The real question BusinessWeek should address is not how to make Microsoft more implanted in the developing nations but why they think that situation would be a good thing.
    • I wonder what does BusinessWeek gain by being pro-Microsoft. Are they owned by the software giant? Is their growth somehow tied to that of proprietary software? Do they think their licenses will be terminated if they show disrespect for MS? The real question BusinessWeek should address is not how to make Microsoft more implanted in the developing nations but why they think that situation would be a good thing.

      I've been wondering exactly the same thing. I can't figure out who BusinessWeek is targeting with

  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @05:45PM (#20003031) Homepage
    That it's "theft". It's really just "unauthorized - and unpaid - marketing and distribution."

    And many business people understand that. If they can use it to their advantage, they do, without any of the moral "hand wringing" that others do.

    There was a clothing company who discovered that a Hong Kong or Taiwan outfit was counterfeiting their brand. Instead of bringing legal action, they went to the company and bought it out, subsequently releasing the same "counterfeit" product as their "bargain brand."

    It's only people who don't have control over their own product - like artists under contract to music companies - or companies who don't know how to take advantage of or compete with so-called "piracy" who moan and groan about it.

    The solution to every problem of this sort is: how can I take advantage of it?
  • Question for a lawyer: Does Microsoft's deliberate allowance of piracy create a case [nolo.com] of estoppel [wikipedia.org]?

    Estoppel by silence: "A type of estoppel that prevents a person from asserting something when she had both the duty and the opportunity to speak up earlier..."

    Since Microsoft allows piracy, can the company lose its copyright?

    Microsoft definitely encourages piracy, in my opinion. For years, local computer stores carried to office suite alternatives: Legal Microsoft Office, and pirated Microsoft Office for $50. Word Perfect and Lotus could not compete. I'm not sure what local computer stores are doing now.

    I could give other examples.
    • Since Microsoft allows piracy, can the company lose its copyright?

      The copyright owner can distribute his work under whatever terms he damn well pleases. It is constitutionally derived property right. It is not a trade or service mark that has to be defended against all comers.

      For years, local computer stores carried to office suite alternatives

      And for at least the past decade MS has offered a home office suite priced at around $100. Cureently MS Home and Student 2007, retail boxed, three seat license,

  • Imagine if were an area where Linux user groups could work hand-in-hand with Microsoft: Turning the screws on local business by strengthening software copyright and by enforcing laws against illegal software distribution.

    Companies who compare Linux to pirated Windows look at the cost: $0 to $0, having the source code likely does not factor into the equation. But, when Microsoft users are forced off pirated Microsoft products, Linux advocates can accept these Window refugees with open arms, thus expanding t
  • In a lengthy editorial, BusinessWeek advocates allowing users in China and India to pirate Microsoft software so that it can obtain the same level of market share there as it has in the US and Europe.

    Microsoft owns the Chinese market.

    Today Gates openly concedes that tolerating piracy turned out to be Microsoft's best long-term strategy. That's why Windows is used on an estimated 90% of China's 120 million PCs. "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not,"

  • by massysett ( 910130 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @06:45PM (#20003727) Homepage
    I stopped reading at "Linux threat lessens". BusinessWeek obviously doesn't get it.

    The Linux threat is not going to lessen. BusinessWeek seems to think that MS can give the software away, get a monopoly, and then there will be no threat. That strategy has not worked even in the US, where people are rich enough to afford Microsoft software and where there are no political reasons to avoid Microsoft. (If I were in a foreign government, I wouldn't want to count on a US software company, just as some US government folks got skittish when Lenovo took over the ThinkPads.) People are not switching to Linux solely because of price. They are switching because it is in some ways a superior product.

    Microsoft's problem is not Linux; Microsoft's problem is that it has an antiquated business model: selling shrink-wrapped commodity software at astronomical prices. Giving the software away will delay the inevitable, but the key word is "inevitable".
  • The distribution of copies of Microsoft products that have, shall we say, "uncertain provenance" has frequently been a major factor in Microsoft's ability to infiltrate new markets. At times Microsoft has allowed users to use at home... on their own computer... the Microsoft software they use at work, if not explicitly then with rules and guidelines so worded that people could be forgiven believing it was legal.

    When people have said that piracy was "hitting back at Microsoft" that's always been a sure way t
    • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
      Yes, indeed.

      When you want an Office suite, assuming you don't know about OpenOffice, you have four choices.
      1. Buy MS Office for £500.
      2. Buy Mom+Pop Soft CheapOffice for £50. Saving = £450.
      3. Pirate MS Office. Saving = £500.
      4. Pirate CheapOffice. Saving = £50.

      The biggest saving is to be had by pirating MS Office, so that's what people will do. (Even if the honest ones buy CheapOffice to begin with, chances are that they'll eventually hit a snag with save-file incompatibilities an

  • by srobert ( 4099 ) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @10:44PM (#20005713)
    For me, the price of a new MS Windows OS would be less than a day's wages.
    I wonder what is the price in man-hours for the median-income American? and what is the price of the same in China for a median-income Chinese worker? Is there a correlation between these figures and the likelihood that a user will pirate the software rather than purchase it from a legitimate source?
  • I think MS should attack Chinese pirates with the kind of enthusiasm that even the R/MPAA would consider over the top and take then out by any means necessary.

    Of course, I'm a Linux advocate and think that the highest and best purpose for MS is to provide us with entertainment, and if they send goon squads into China, the results will indeed be entertaining.
  • is equivalent to "dumping" the product.

    It is also equivalent to Microsoft giving a huge subsidy to companies that compete with us. My company spends a couple million a year on Microsoft licenses. I'm sure they would be ecstatic to hear that their indian and chinese competitors are getting the same software for free.

    Yet another reason for them to move everything except the executives over to india and china.
  • If the Chinese and Indians are allowed to run this unlicensed on a large scale (I do not like the word pirated, since essentially all you are doing is violating a license agreement) then this is the end for either Vista or the end of the Vista activation. I for one would welcome the end of the Vista activation! (Or Vista... I really couldn't care less about that OS).

All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins

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