May 15, 2009

Microsoft Teams With Chinese City To Fight Piracy

Microsoft and authorities of the Chinese city of Hangzhou announced a partnership on Friday that the software giant hopes other cities will take note of.

Hangzhou signed a three-year agreement to allow Microsoft to help it develop the city's IT industry while the city has vowed to take a strong position in the protection of intellectual property.

"Partnering with leading IT companies like Microsoft will greatly boost Hangzhou's innovative capabilities and help us build a model information technology city in China," Cai Qi, Hangzhou's mayor, said in a statement.

Piracy of media, including software, films and music, is a rampant issue in China, accounting for billions of lost revenue due to counterfeiting. Business Software Alliance estimated that 82 percent of all computer software sold in China during 2007 was pirated.

Alec Cooper general manager of Microsoft Greater China's "Genuine Software Initiative," told the Associated Press that Microsoft plans to hold regular meetings with city officials to assess the state of piracy and counterfeiting.

"There is some degree of piracy in virtually every country around the world. We said, here's what we think are the best practices and here's what we think will work in China, and make it a more positive approach," Cooper said.

"We think it's an approach that addresses the root of the problem," he said.

Cooper said the approach would use public education and offer incentives to groups that ensure they are using legal software.

"Hangzhou is the first step. What we see is the cities across China, when planning their economic future, are really focused on building up their knowledge economy, and we'd like to extend it," Cooper said.

Microsoft made a previous unpopular attempt to end piracy in China by initiating the Windows Genuine Advantage program, which causes PC monitors to fade to black every hour if the system is using a counterfeited copy of Windows XP operating system.


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