Perhaps people from around the world will travel to China to get their new Microsoft (MSFT) Vista operating system. The company has dropped its price for Vista Home Basic to $66.
Research firm IDC estimates that 84% of the software used in China last year was pirated. The Chinese government has mandated that PCs sold in the country have the operating system pre-installed.
All of these move are good ideas, but they are half measures. As the film industry has found, nothing short of tracking down pirates and severely punishing them is likely to change the Chinese practice of stealing intellectual property from other countries.
The issue now is what will Microsoft do if the large majority of Windows used in China continues to bring the company no revenue.
The answer is, the company can’t do a thing.
Douglas A. McIntyre