Microsoft wins landmark corporate piracy case in China

Chinese insurance company Dazhong Insurance has had a huge slap on the wrist for using unlicensed copies of Microsoft’s software, being ordered by a Shangai court to pay 2.17 million yuan in damages.

Dazhong is trying to appeal the court order. While Microsoft is legally in the right, and celebrating its big win – the first of its kind in China – Dazhong thinks that Microsoft’s pricing has been “irrational.” “We suspected they had such pricing because of their monopoly status, it can’t be that no matter how much you demand, we have to obey,” said vice president Ma Xing to the Beijing Times.

The Wall Street Journal rightly says that the comments made by Ma Xing on behalf of Dazhong goes to show how much of a non-issue it is, even in the corporate world, in China to pirate software.

Microsoft had desperately been trying to reason with the company from 2008 to 2009 to quit using pirated products, but received no response from Dazhong. Microsoft even lowered its prices to under $30 a pop for Office licenses but that had no effect. Microsoft spokesperson Yu Weidong said in a statement: “We hope the judgment in this case will play an active role in promoting the use of licensed software in enterprises, especially large enterprises.”

We feel that to change an entire nation’s attitudes toward software piracy will need more than one successful court win from Microsoft, but it is a step in the right direction.