China Jousts with Microsoft Over Open Markets

IP Law in China

China’s announcement that it is not preparing to investigate Microsoft seems more like a warning shot than reassurance. Hats off to Computerworld’s Preston Gralla, who points out the strangeness of communist governments complaining about monopolies. Hypocrisy and gamesmanship are likely to be reoccuring themes in the two giants’ relationship.

The “non-announcement” seems intended to blunt Microsoft’s criticism that copyright is inadequately enforced in China, and that it has lost millions of dollars of revenue through piracy there. Yet Microsoft can’t afford to take an adversarial posture toward one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Particularly as it has recently fared poorly in European courts. Microsoft needs to seek smoother sailing in China.

Likewise, mistrust over copyright protection in China is rampant. So China also has a vulnerability to manage as well, as it navigates Microsoft’s participation in its market.

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