A Chinese court sentenced 11 men to prison terms this week for running what Microsoft describes as “the biggest software counterfeiting organisation we have ever seen, by far” with sales of over $2 billion.
China’s sudden crackdown on pirates comes after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer slammed China just last month for failing to take action against piracy.
China-based distribution of pirated Windows is bleeding Microsoft’s global sales. If the Chinese government continues to take action against pirates (something they’ve historically ignored), it’s a huge win for Microsoft (MSFT).
One reason for the change in Chinse policy could be the departure of the executive behind a controversial anti-piracy program that had the Chinese government up in arms. It might also help that Microsoft just plowed a billion dollars into China-based R&D.