Ballmer to China: 'Steal all the software you want, so long as it's ours'

Your first dime bag is always free


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has signed a memorandum of understanding with China's State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) worth $750 million over three years, involving both software and services, Reuters reports.

"We want the Chinese industry to grow. The success of Microsoft in every market, including China's, is highly dependent upon the growth of local industry. What's good for the local industry in every country is good for Microsoft," the wire service quotes him as saying.

MS also announced an investment of $24 million in local academic institutions, plus a $480,000 'investment' to set up a software college in Shanghai where mad Unix skillz will undoubtedly be taught under MS' noses.

Most interestingly, Ballmer claimed not to have extracted any promises from the Chinese government, according to Reuters. This of course means that MS is prepared to see its precious intellectual property defiled in every way imaginable just so it can get a toe-hold on the mainland.

Ballmer said China's desire to develop its software industry was an incentive to improving intellectual property protection, according to the report.

"As the Chinese government focuses in on the development of the local IT industry and its ability to export, having a good domestic market for those local Chinese companies to do intellectual property development is even more important," he said. "I think that is as clearly understood by Premier Zhu and the senior people I've met with as anything is."

Sorry, Steve; what the Chinese understand clearly is how desperately foreign patsies like you want to hear that sort of talk, and how soothing it is to your ears.

But hey, this is the model MS used to get those of us in the enlightened West addicted to their crack -- unless you think it's a coincidence that the company started getting ugly on piracy only after it reckoned its market share was beyond challenge. The idea that they'll try a similar stunt in China is hardly surprising. Only there, where foreign companies almost never see a return on investment, the strategy probably won't work as well as it did in the obedient, bourgeois West. The Chinese will take MS' money all right, then make them their bitch when the Redmond well runs dry and they proudly roll out their own flavour of Linux to great nationalistic fanfare -- an accomplishment which, ironically, MS will have helped fund.

Pretty cool, eh? ®


Other stories you might like

  • How to keep a support contract: Make the user think they solved the problem

    Look what you found! Aren't you clever!

    On Call Let us take a little trip back to the days before the PC, when terminals ruled supreme, to find that the more things change the more they stay the same. Welcome to On Call.

    Today's story comes from "Keith" (not his name) and concerns the rage of a user whose expensive terminal would crash once a day, pretty much at the same time.

    The terminal in question was a TAB 132/15. It was an impressive bit of kit for the time and was capable of displaying 132 characters of crisp, green text on a 15-inch CRT housed in a futuristic plastic case. Luxury for sure, unless one was the financial trader trying to use the device.

    Continue reading
  • Apple kicked an M1-shaped hole in Intel's quarter

    Chipzilla braces for a China-gaming-ban-shaped hole in future results, predicts more product delays

    Intel has blamed Apple's switch to its own M1 silicon in Macs for a dip in sales at its client computing group, and foreshadowed future unpleasantness caused by supply chain issues and China's recent internet crackdowns.

    Chipzilla's finances were robust for the third quarter of its financial year: revenue of $19.2 billion was up five per cent year over year, while net income of $6.8 billion was up 60 per cent compared to 2020's Q3.

    But revenue for the client computing group was down two points. CFO George Davis – whose retirement was announced today – was at pains to point out that were it not for Apple quitting Intel silicon and Chipzilla exiting the modem business, client-related revenue would have risen ten per cent.

    Continue reading
  • How your phone, laptop, or watch can be tracked by their Bluetooth transmissions

    Unique fingerprints lurk in radio signals more often than not, it seems

    Over the past few years, mobile devices have become increasingly chatty over the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol and this turns out to be a somewhat significant privacy risk.

    Seven boffins at University of California San Diego – Hadi Givehchian, Nishant Bhaskar, Eliana Rodriguez Herrera, Héctor Rodrigo López Soto, Christian Dameff, Dinesh Bharadia, and Aaron Schulman – tested the BLE implementations on several popular phones, PCs, and gadgets, and found they can be tracked through their physical signaling characteristics albeit with intermittent success.

    That means the devices may emit a unique fingerprint, meaning it's possible to look out for those fingerprints in multiple locations to figure out where those devices have been and when. This could be used to track people; you'll have to use your imagination to determine who would or could usefully exploit this. That said, at least two members of the team believe it's worth product makers addressing this privacy weakness.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021