As I was reading this News.com article today on Microsoft's expectations of a 20 percent increase in software sales in China this year, I was waiting for mention of how much revenue that would translate into, but even more so for mention of Microsoft's relations with the Chinese government -- and the involvement of the U.S. government in attempts to control rampant software piracy in that country.
The piece says IDC puts China in the number-two spot for unit PC sales worldwide -- most of which, of course, would be contributing to Microsoft's bottom line, if they weren't being loaded up with pirated software.
But News.com makes it sound like Microsoft is happy as can be that, for instance, with assistance from the Chinese government, 30 percent of Lenovo PCs are bought with pirated software now, instead of the previous 90 percent level. And that at the end of last year, half of all machines sold there had illegal software installed.
Perhaps the Microsoft China CEO quoted didn't feel like getting harangued for both critical personal comments and for formal complaints filed by the U.S. government with the World Trade Organization today, alleging that Chinese policies are mishandling control of piracy of software and other intellectual property.
The complaints, which had been planned and scheduled and then postponed in the last year, aim to speed up damming of losses to U.S. companies of over $2 billion per year in China. New U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, "No country in the world has done more to undermine American intellectual property than China."
And perhaps no other U.S. company has been hurt more by Chinese piracy than Microsoft. Well, maybe Disney.
I haven't seen an accompanying statement from Microsoft yet, but Steve Ballmer is probably busy whispering in Pelosi's ear.