Look, Hu's Coming to Dinner!
Hu was on the calendar for dinner at the Gates residence this week? That's
right, Chinese President Hu Jintao -- the leader of the country that undoubtedly
represents the world's most coveted market -- chowed down Tuesday night
at Bill and Melinda's place in a dinner hosted by Washington Gov. Chris
Gregoire, who must have felt a little intimidated in the presence of one of
the most important men in the world...and the president of China.
This wasn't just a social visit, though. Microsoft is all about keeping
it real in China when it comes to software. More to the point, Gates may be
one of the world's great supporters of charity, but he doesn’t want
to give any software away -- at least not to those users in the world's
most populous country who should be paying for it. China's booming software
market is famous for being beset with pirated copies of just about everything,
and Gates no doubt had a quiet word with Hu over aperitifs about how to stem
the tide of bootleg software in the Middle Kingdom.
been busy signing Chinese firms up in its effort to have genuine copies
of Windows loaded onto computers sold in China. Founder Technology Group Corp.
agreed last week to buy $250 million worth of licenses over the next three years
for a Chinese version of Windows for use on computers sold in China. Chinese
PC manufacturer Tsinghua Tongfang Co. Ltd. recently signed a similar agreement,
and computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. said last fall that it would start loading
Windows on most of the computers it manufactures for China.
Microsoft has conquered a lot of markets over the years and will continue to
do so, but the fight against piracy in China -- where the company says it has
3,000 partners -- is one battlefield on which the software giant is going to
need some serious allies. Given the size and growth potential of the Chinese
market, piracy in that country is a massive issue that could make or break the
entire software industry for decades to come. Chinese officials are pledging
cooperation with Microsoft in stamping out piracy, but don't expect this
battle to be as easy as Microsoft's burials of Lotus SmartSuite or WordPerfect.
This is new territory for Gates and his charges, and it'll be interesting
to see what influence he peddles and what stops he pulls out in guiding his
Naked in Beijing No More
Officials in the Chinese capital have pitched into Microsoft’s effort
the sale of "naked" computers -- machines sold without software.
The ban is scheduled to take effect by the end of the year, so "naked"
computer merchants only have a matter of months to comply, go underground or
start bribing government officials in an attempt to get around the ban.
Say Goodbye to 9x Support
Remember 1998? The Monica Lewinsky scandal? John Elway and the Broncos winning
the Super Bowl? That impressive new version of Windows with a vintage stamped
on it as if it were a fine bottle of St. Emilion? Seems like a long time ago,
doesn't it? Well, Microsoft thinks it's been long enough for those
of you still using Windows 98, 98 Second Edition and Windows Millennium Edition.
It will cut
off all paid support of those versions of Windows on July 11.
More Microsoft BI Maneuvering
Redmond continues to beef up its Business Intelligence offerings for the Dynamics
enterprise resource planning suite. The latest is Redmond's OEM
deal with Nexvue, a 21-person Microsoft Gold Certified Partner based in
Stamford, Conn. that develops Business Information Optimization software.
Posted by Lee Pender on April 19, 2006 at 11:53 AM