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The biggest hacker in China
October 22, 2008 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Microsoft is taking unprecedented measures to combat China's piracy. The people aren't happy. Is the company shooting itself in the foot?
posted by strangeguitars (66 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Users of pirated Windows will see reminders every few hours that they should purchase legitimate software and occasionally the software will turn your screen black
This is different from using a licensed copy of Windows... how, exactly?
posted by Wolfdog at 8:42 AM on October 22, 2008 [25 favorites]


The article says the background turns black once an hour. Is having a black background somehow culturally offensive?
posted by zippy at 8:44 AM on October 22, 2008


I'm sure someone will argue that the precedent of the black background is a slippery slope straight to the ski lodge of Steve Ballmer beating the snot out of you, but I just don't see it.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:46 AM on October 22, 2008


In my limited experience, Chinese people and most Asians I've met - (Background: I rent out 2 extra rooms in my house to international students, mostly Korean, Japanese and Chinese) - have a much different view of intellectual property that we do. I remember one time looking over my DVD collection with a 20-something from Korea and he looked at me confused and said "Can't you just download these?" and I said "Well, yeah, but I prefer to buy them." I really couldn't make him understand the difference. A high school boy from Shanghai explained to me that in China "we just download anything we want." He was referring to software, movies, games, music.

I think Microsoft might be underestimating this effect, and I don't see it making much of a difference, other than continuing to alienate legitimate users.
posted by carfullofpandas at 8:50 AM on October 22, 2008


"The computer is mine!" one angry blogger wrote on the popular Chinese web portal Sina.com. "Microsoft has no right to control my hardware without my agreement."

No, MS is controlling the software. As in the operating system.

If you don't like it, your choices are:

A) Buy Windows
B) Learn Linux
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:50 AM on October 22, 2008 [8 favorites]


wouldn't it make more sense to, I don't know, disable the product, instead of changing a color of the background?
posted by uni verse at 8:55 AM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


[In] China "we just download anything we want." He was referring to software, movies, games, music.

Could it be because they're Communists? Does the theory apply to softwares?
posted by Gungho at 8:56 AM on October 22, 2008


Pretty sure this isn't just for China. Supposedly the Black Screen WGA upgrade was pushed out for at least XP Pro everywhere back in August.
posted by blackberet at 8:56 AM on October 22, 2008


...oh, right, right. Using a licensed copy of Windows turns your soul black. Gotcha.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:06 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Could it be because they're Communists? Does the theory apply to softwares?

Good thought. I hadn't considered it like that before...
posted by carfullofpandas at 9:09 AM on October 22, 2008


The article says the background turns black once an hour. Is having a black background somehow culturally offensive?

I'm guessing Microsoft chose it mostly because of the whole Pirates/Black Flag thing.

This is different from using a licensed copy of Windows... how, exactly?

Because it's not blue?
posted by mandal at 9:09 AM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Microsoft don't want to eliminate piracy.

Piracy has always been good for Microsoft's bottom line. Zero-cost Windows helps keep out competitors. In general they concentrate on getting corporations (business users & PC manufacturers) to pay them money, rather than chasing individuals.

Obviously this model is way out of whack in China, and they are struggling to achieve a balance that suits them better.
posted by mr. strange at 9:10 AM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


If they would drop the prices more people would buy rather than steal it.
posted by caddis at 9:10 AM on October 22, 2008


@Dr-Baa:
C) Use a pirated copy

I'm pretty sure there are hacks around this in the works, which will be able to be downloaded and applied.

I myself am using choice C, here in China. Paying the full price here is crazy given the low cost of living here. I'm currently looking into choice B, but it won't happen overnight.

No black screen (at least yet), but that may be because I'm using an English version. I'm not sure of the extent of this, and being midnight here right now, I won't be able to ask anyone until the morning.

@Gungho:
Chinese don't have a strong concept of "intellectual property". It's rather alien to them. There has been a fake Pizza Hut coexisting with a real Pizza Hut almost in sight of each other here in Jilin for more than a year now. I'm not aware of any royalty system for airplay of songs, etc. I guess ideas (what we would call intellectual property) is seen as communal, maybe by virtue of their ease of duplication.
posted by strangeguitars at 9:11 AM on October 22, 2008


are seen as communal
posted by strangeguitars at 9:14 AM on October 22, 2008


If they would drop the prices more people would buy rather than steal it.

Which is why no one illegally downloads movies which can be bought for $10 or tv shows which can be dl legally for $2.
posted by Manhasset at 9:15 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Stealing" is pretty clear to everyone, even the Chinese. One could argue that to the Chinese, stealing is even more clear, since they have been stealing industrial secrets from the US and Europe for years now.

They should come up with their own operating system. Let's see how that goes for them.
posted by ewkpates at 9:15 AM on October 22, 2008


Am I the only one who finds the criticism of that measure to be absurdly ridiculous? I'm certainly no fan of Microsoft, but this is just silly.
posted by clevershark at 9:17 AM on October 22, 2008 [11 favorites]


...

Is there not a chinese "student" versions of windows os's that they can download and install and never have to be bugged about WGA or activation and use windows update all they want like the rest of the world's pirates?

Or, so I've heard anyways >_>
posted by utsutsu at 9:18 AM on October 22, 2008


Ah, no, it doesn't really have anything to do with lofty notions of 'communal property.' There's actually an intellectual property registration and enforcement system in China, but it's a mind-bogglingly byzantine bureaucracy, with overlapping and contradictory layers at the national, regional, and local levels. Also, it is extremely difficult--for nationalist and legal reasons--for non-Chinese entities to enforce rights in China. The problem is legal and political more than a cultural.

A great book on the subject is The Politics of Piracy: Intellectual Property in Contemporary China.
posted by jedicus at 9:19 AM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Eh, "unprecedented" should be reserved for more catastrophic measures, like nuking the machine & everything on it.

...actually, that would be hilarious. I wonder what the effect on the global economy would be?

In fact, now that I think about it, if I were Gates I'd want a dead-man switch in every copy of Windows -- the moment I die, every copy on the planet dies with me. I'd get to be a supervillain without having to lift a finger; I might wipe out pirated versions first (so that I get to watch the mayhem) and only nuke the legit copies posthumously.
posted by aramaic at 9:19 AM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Give it another year of economic downturn and something will pop up to deduct the price of a nationwide licence from all those treasury bills that China's holding.
posted by mandal at 9:20 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


But I've been using a neutral black background on my Windows machines for years, so this will affect me not at all. Ha Microsoft! Once again my Spartan lifestyle defeats your complicated security, check and mate.

(For serious though, won't this just be hacked and patched in a couple of weeks? I really can't see this as being anything other than a minor annoyance from the users perspective.)

[On closer read:]

Luckily for Chinese pirates, the software is opt-in so if they do not want it they do not have to download it.


Or, I guess they could just choose not to install it...
posted by quin at 9:23 AM on October 22, 2008


I'm having trouble forming a coherent post regarding my stance on Chinese piracy that doesn't just retread what has already been mentions, but, on a tangentially related note, this video from the "Related Information" section at the bottom is a pretty decent response to the Apple Mac vs PC ads, and it even takes the high road of not attacking Apple at all. Good on ya, MS. If this is old news, don't shoot me. I watch very little TV and over 95% of the online videos I see are links from here.
posted by owtytrof at 9:25 AM on October 22, 2008


at the bottom*

*of the first link in the FPP, I meant to say.
posted by owtytrof at 9:28 AM on October 22, 2008


First, you have to opt-in and choose to download the WGA upgrade (not sure if this would be automatically downloaded if you have that option selected). Second, those are shareware-like nag screens, which might just push more people to look for registration cracks. No locking the system up, no inaccessible files.

I'm pretty sure there are desktop-cycling programs that will change the desktop at a given interval. Just set that interval to 59 minutes, and you'll never see the black screen. I'm sure there are plenty of other options.

In regards to piracy and downloading vs buying - there are quite a few factors that play into the illegal vs legal routes. I know copying things from friends and buying dirt-cheap knock-offs are quite common in parts of Russia. Heck, there's even a Russian music label that makes MP3 CDs of whole artist discographies. When there is no serious enforcement of bootleg material, ample computers to make copies from friends, internet access that is fast enough to download whatever you want without much delay, and no campaign to keep you supporting legitimate copies (see ads from MPAA and the like), the national mindset is different.

All signs point towards little change. Make something people want to pay for, or make something so good with no real alternative and make copying it obnoxious enough and set the price point low enough, people will buy software. But with music and movies, there are always alternatives, and always ways to copy, even if the copies aren't pristene. If you can see or hear it, you can record it.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:33 AM on October 22, 2008


Chinese piracy? How about Chinese Democracy? No other thread as of yet...
posted by bonefish at 9:33 AM on October 22, 2008


Chinese don't have a strong concept of "intellectual property".

Nah. It's got nothing to do with understanding. Just like kids downloading torrents of their favorite albums, the Chinese know exactly what they're doing, but they rationalize it as relatively harmless if it only hurts American corporations, and this notion is reinforced by weak government enforcement of the law. Now that China is such a large international economic force and wants to sell its own IP, I suppose the government has a different attitude, at least officially, but that won't change the average citizen's attitude until cops start stomping on producers and consumers of pirated software. A crime that isn't punished isn't really a crime, is it?

I wonder how many screens in Chinese government offices are turning black every hour?
posted by pracowity at 9:38 AM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sorry, didn't read. My brain imploded when I read about their "right to privacy." Not that I'm a Microsoft fan, but these people are aware that everything they do is monitored by the Great Bureaucrat of Social Normalization, aren't they?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:41 AM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


ewkpates, China does not need to create their own general purpose Operating System. The hard part is mostly done by the global GNU/Linux community; the communities of the FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, and DragonflyBSD projects; and the relatively new OpenSolaris communities. However, there is a mostly official Chinese distribution of GNU/Linux called Red Flag.

On a more pressing note, China has been developing their own core logic for a domestically produced CPU family known as the Loongson. Mostly MIPS compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit registers and addressing, and soon to be x86 compatible...

The direction is clear. China is building it's own computing ecosystem around open standards, and esoteric instruction sets.

Hell, the only way that this pasty white American can get some MIPS goodness is to go schlocking on Ebay for some tasty old Silicon Graphics kit.

Mmmmmm.... Indigo.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 9:47 AM on October 22, 2008


Interesting choice. I already have my background solid black (at work, licensed XP). I guess this marks me as a pirate now. My coworkers already thought it was a strange choice, what with their pictures of cats, corvettes, and chicks.

FWIW, I also like to implement this registry edit:

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors]
"Background"="0 0 0"

...which changes the background color black for the login screen as well.
posted by odinsdream at 9:53 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok How come China gets a black screen of death and we get stuck with a lame blue screen of death!!! Me/shakes fist at MS
posted by Mastercheddaar at 9:54 AM on October 22, 2008


@pracowity:
I think it's much deeper than knowing that one is stealing and doing it anyway. It's more like thinking that stealing non-physical stuff is not stealing.

When I grew up in the 70s and 80s (in America), people didn't think twice about making tapes of albums, and duplicating software. This "stealing" idea is relatively new.

I do agree with a lot of others commenting that if Windows were offered at a price that would be reasonable to the market here, people would buy it.

I'm sure the amount of computers turning black in government offices is no different than the amount in people's homes or in companies.

The ISPs here will install Windows (of course pirated) for you when you order internet service.
posted by strangeguitars at 9:55 AM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Other things Microsoft could try to encourage the Chinese government to enforce anti-piracy laws:

- set all laptops to simultaneously max out their CPUs for five minutes in the middle of the day
- background shows subliminal images: Chang Kai-Shek, Dalai Lama, Tienanmen Square tank guy
- audio sample played at 11: "hey everybody, I'm fomenting counter-revolutionary thought!"

If any of these are put into practice, residents of Redmond, Washington may wish to move several hours away.
posted by zippy at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2008 [6 favorites]


uni verse writes "wouldn't it make more sense to, I don't know, disable the product, instead of changing a color of the background?"

MS doesn't want to actually stop people from pirating their product as it would cut into their market share. They just want to encourage as many people to buy the product as much as possible, especially corporate users.

strangeguitars writes "I think it's much deeper than knowing that one is stealing and doing it anyway. It's more like thinking that stealing non-physical stuff is not stealing."

Probably because in this case at least it isn't, it's infringing copyright.
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2008


Yeah, I was prepared to read that MS was actually *doing* something like a kill switch. This is nothing. Maybe a bit annoying to the pirated users, but hardly anything that stops the practice. Tempest in a teapot in the grand scheme of things.
posted by dejah420 at 10:42 AM on October 22, 2008


Didn't the US print British books without paying royalties back in the 19th century?
posted by Laotic at 10:42 AM on October 22, 2008


Chinese people are all communists who don't understand the concept of theft, and they've all been "stealing industrial secrets" from the US? Holy crap the yokel is strong in this thread.
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:43 AM on October 22, 2008 [7 favorites]


It's more like thinking that stealing non-physical stuff is not stealing.

My theory is a bit more cynical: that people don't really care about stealing, they only care if they get caught, so in a situation where there is no penalty for stealing, they steal as much as they can.
posted by smackfu at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not that I'm a Microsoft fan, but these people are aware that everything they do is monitored by the Great Bureaucrat of Social Normalization, aren't they?

I'm entirely certain "our people" would balk at the idea of a foreign corporation invading their privacy too. This is not something that differs depending on your state politics; foreign corporations who, in the mind of the consumers, invade privacy will always be lambasted for their actions.
posted by scabrous at 10:55 AM on October 22, 2008


My theory is a bit more cynical: that people don't really care about stealing, they only care if they get caught, so in a situation where there is no penalty for stealing, they steal as much as they can.
Pretty much exactly this.

Also, the penalty doesn't have to be monetary to stop you stealing. If you'd be stealing from a nice old lady, just knowing that you'd be someone who stole from a nice old lady is penalty enough to dissuade you.

But if you're stealing from the world's second-richest man and his hateful corporation the bar is far higher -- and it's stratospherically high if you can mentally push it into the grey no-harm-done zones of "copyright infringement". Hell, it's not anything like stealing then. You're laughing.

Until your screen turns black.
posted by bonaldi at 10:59 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Microsoft needs their own pirate groups who release "cracked" Windows where the background is stays locked as a logo unintentionally offensive. Say the group's logo while the group calls themselves the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (with emphasis on the four). They could then proceed to push other cracked versions off the bit torrent trackers, say by releasing updates that break them. So their own black screen version seems benign by comparison.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:18 AM on October 22, 2008


Or, switch the background to a picture of MS's Taipei offices, complete with Taiwanese flag... animate the flag for good measure, too. Code it in assembly and hide it within ntfs.sys.
posted by clevershark at 11:24 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I never understand the argument posed by strangeguitars and others where if the price was low enough for them, they'd buy it. Does this somehow justify infringing copyright? Perhaps the thinking is the corporations are at fault and they should blame themselves, not the person violating their IP?

It's not up to the end user (who is usually completely unaware of the associated costs) to decide what price they want to pay for it, it's the corporates decision. If you don't like the price point, don't buy it and don't use it. If it's worth building an app for the price you want to pay, expect a competitor to pop up.

If you decide you'd rather steal the IP rather than pay for it, at least acknowledge that's what you're doing instead of hiding behind such a poor argument. It's almost as if some people see it their right to have the software/music, and they're doing the corp/artist a favor by paying for it.
posted by ShadowCrash at 11:30 AM on October 22, 2008


NEWSFLASH: "Individual rights and the enforcement thereof under a capitalistic system" might not be a top priority for Chinese maoists. Next up on Fox News: "Water. is it wet?"
posted by blue_beetle at 11:33 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Laotic And into the mid 20th century as well. Tolkin was so widely pirated that when an authorized edition did eventually come out it had a big green box on the back cover stating that it, and no other edition, was actually authorized. It was only quite recently that international copyright got ironed out even to the extent that it is today, and it ain't that smooth.
posted by sotonohito at 11:44 AM on October 22, 2008


Well, I think it is not so much about whether people should or should not steal it at a certain price, I think it is more about maximizing revenue. The classic MS strategy has been to ignore rampant copying of their software and allow it to become the de facto standard. Then you start clamping down on copying. In the beginning the copying helps to establish market share, then it starts to eat into profits. Anyway, there is a price at which people would rather buy a legitimate copy rather than a pirated one. If at that price MS's total revenue has increased due to increases in the number of units sold then that becomes a good price. If on the other hand it generates less revenue than a high price with rampant copying then perhaps it is not such a great price.
posted by caddis at 11:52 AM on October 22, 2008


Whenever the subject of China comes up, I'm inevitably very amused by the misconceptions about that country that people seem to take for gospel truth -- especially when the words "communist" and "maoist" are used in a comment.

The last vestiges of maoism in China played themselves out in the mid-70s during the so-called "Cultural Revolution" (which I rather think of as "Mao getting rid of his old allies"), and Chinese communism pretty much died in the mid-to-late 80s when Deng instituted his reforms. The system in place now is more akin to laissez-faire capitalism economically paired with very nationalist authoritarianism on the political front.

The fact is that if you are at all eligible for Social Security and Medicare at any point in your lifetime you enjoy more socialism than the average Chinese person.
posted by clevershark at 11:55 AM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


The whole concept of "stealing" in relation to pirating is also interesting. From the perspective of the thief there is less guilt generated from stealing software than from stealing something physical. Only a copy was taken, the victim still has the original, the only thing the victim lost is a potential sale and frankly most of these thieves were never going to purchase it at the full price anyway, so that only a few percent of the stolen copies actually represent lost sales. On the other hand, from the point of view of the victim, the thief has obtained something of value from the victim without paying for it and in that sense is is theft.

Given that the thieves feel less guilt over such theft, and that their chances of getting into trouble over it are quite low it is no surprise that these thefts are so rampant. Thievery is the strongest competitor that MS faces, not LINUX or Apple etc. Priced appropriately their will be little theft.
posted by caddis at 12:01 PM on October 22, 2008


I use this as my background. Screw 'em.
posted by pjern at 12:31 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the US, XP Home costs about $200. The US / China GDP per capita ratio is very roughly 10:1. So it might be reasonable, from a buyer's standpoint, to expect a Windows license to cost about $20 in China. Reasonable in the sense that someone in China might find a $20 license a little pricey, but not exorbitant.

Mefites in China: how much does a legit copy of Windows cost?
posted by ryanrs at 12:37 PM on October 22, 2008


I was unable to locate legitimate, licenced software, music, and movies for sale when I lived in Beijing. We actually tried because some friends of mine at the embassy could get into real trouble if they were caught with pirated materials, but it was no use. So in the end my wife and I continued to see first run movies in English in the comfort of our own home (while they were still in theatres in the US, they cost the equivalent of $.25 on average) and our friends at the embassy waited for ther Amazon shipments to manuver through the State Department mail system. At work I casually stated that I wished I had MS Publisher and the next day my boss handed me an English language copy, complete with functioning registration numbers, she'd bough off a street vendor for a dime.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:43 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, citizens of an authoritarian state which routinely turns a blind eye to IP violations are mad at the change in behavior of the software from a western software monopoly which abuses its position in the marketplace to eliminate legitimate competitors?

Who to root for, or against, is quite a dilemma.
posted by Reverend John at 1:16 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mefites in China: how much does a legit copy of Windows cost?

I'm not in China, but the WSJ's China Journal story on this topic says Windows XP normally costs 1400 yuan (the same ~$200 as in the US) but that Windows XP Home & Student are available for a promotional price of 199 yuan, or about $29, which is still high according to your approximation, but not as insane as the $200 regular price.
posted by jedicus at 1:26 PM on October 22, 2008


>> If they would drop the prices more people would buy rather than steal it.

> Which is why no one illegally downloads movies which can be bought for $10 or tv
> shows which can be dl legally for $2.


You see that word, 'more'? It means something different to the word 'everyone'.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:36 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


PROD_TPSL: However, there is a mostly official Chinese distribution of GNU/Linux called Red Flag.

No one in China really uses Red Flag. Businesses who rely on Linux in China know better than to rely on Red Flag, which takes much longer to patch their binaries than Fedora/Red Hat.
posted by gen at 1:53 PM on October 22, 2008


Also relevant:
How Microsoft conquered China
Or is it the other way around? Fortune's David Kirkpatrick goes on the road to Beijing with Bill Gates, who threw his business model out the window.

By 2001, Microsoft executives were coming to the conclusion that China's weak IP-enforcement laws meant its usual pricing strategies were doomed to fail. Gates argued at the time that while it was terrible that people in China pirated so much software, if they were going to pirate anybody's software he'd certainly prefer it be Microsoft's.

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," Gates says. "Are you kidding? You can get the real thing, and you get the same price." Indeed, in China's back alleys, Linux often costs more than Windows because it requires more disks. And Microsoft's own prices have dropped so low it now sells a $3 package of Windows and Office to students.
The pricing mentioned in this 2007 Fortune article seems off in comparison to the pricing mentioned in the recent article.
posted by gen at 1:57 PM on October 22, 2008


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What?! The computer is mine! You're invading my privacy!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:52 PM on October 22, 2008


Microsoft and most major software development companies, would be better placed to offer free non-enterprise/limited versions of their products to consumers and charging companies full cost for the fully featured versions - this seems to be how it's working in China currently, and I don't see Microsoft falling on particularly hard times as a result. This would guarantee the products becoming the standards in use, and the cost being borne by those actually turning a profit from their use.
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:00 PM on October 22, 2008


If Microsoft borrowed Matt's idea from this year's April Fool's folly (go to Profile and click Make It Start to remind yourself of the insanity), I expect that the "pirates" would jump ship like smoke and oakum, either to "legal" copies of Windows or "libre" copies of Linux.
posted by SPrintF at 4:02 PM on October 22, 2008


Microsoft and most major software development companies, would be better placed to offer free non-enterprise/limited versions of their products to consumers and charging companies full cost for the fully featured versions

Except for all that money MS makes off OEMs. In my own little IT world, it seems the average US user isn't going to go find a hacked copy of XP- they'll get someone to come in and run adware and just replace the PC when it gets too slow, or run the original factory CD/DVD that came with the computer.
posted by jmd82 at 5:54 PM on October 22, 2008


@Uni Verse: My theory is that Microsoft is hoping people will buy legit licenses if they annoy users of pirated machines enough. People who aren't tech savvy enough to reinstall or find a better fake key/activation work around could be talked into buying a new activation key.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:37 PM on October 22, 2008


My legal copy of Windows turns white every few hours. I'm special.
posted by Pigpen at 12:45 AM on October 23, 2008


I'm sure part of this complaint from the Chinese is slowly realizing the computer they bought "came with" a conterfeit copy of Windows. (eg. the company that sold it to them pirated it)

The other source of frustration is likely the very convincing counterfeit copies of Windows floating around in their markets.

This is why I think Microsoft is being careful, because in many cases the end user could have initially thought they had a legit copy. The concept of WGA could be seen as very invasive if never exposed to it in the past.

Microsoft has a lot of work ahead of them.
posted by samsara at 4:01 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


When did the US start recognizing other countries' intellectual property rights? I cant find the date.
posted by dirty lies at 6:43 PM on October 23, 2008


When did the US start recognizing other countries' intellectual property rights? I cant find the date.

March 20, 1883 found it for you! Isn't AskMe great? Oh crap, this is the blue.

If they would drop the prices more people would buy rather than steal it.

See, that's the thing, the purchase price of a legit, licenced version is between 800 to 1200 RMB, but the pirated copy you can get on the street is between 10 to (for the fancy version) 100 RMB. The English language version of XP that my boss had to get specially for my work station, complete with most of the bells and whistles probably ran her around 25 RMB. If MS wants to compete with that they've got to give the stuff away for free.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:27 AM on October 24, 2008


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