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Software battle heats up
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Microsoft is trying to woo consumers with a one-week discount of nearly 70 percent on its Office product in China, as it tries to win the battle against pirated software dealers.

The world's largest software maker said it will reduce the retail price of its Office Suite 2007 home and student edition from 699 to 199 yuan in China during next week's National Day holiday.

The promotion will finish at the end of the Golden Week and does not include Microsoft system software such as Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Garth Fort, general manager of Microsoft's marketing division in China, said the company wants "every man, woman and child" in the country to use Microsoft's authentic software. He said the price cut would be a litmus test.

The one-week promotion comes three months after the company slashed the price of its Microsoft Office Suite 2007 by 50 percent in July, from 1451 yuan to 699 yuan.

Microsoft said the discounted Office product will be available through software shops, electronic appliance chains, B2C websites and supermarkets such as Carrefour and BestBuy. But it did not disclose how many copies of the software would be made available during the campaign.

Microsoft has struggled to translate its dominant market share into revenue since it entered China in 1998.

The company has successfully convinced government organizations and PC vendors to adopt its authentic software in recent years. But with many individuals on an average monthly income below 1,000 yuan, pirated software is still prevalent.

(China Daily September 23, 2008)

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