Microsoft has been under the spotlight since it launched its validation testing software, Microsoft Genuine Advantage, in China on October 20. The software giant's anti-piracy move has provoked an avalanche of complaints from users and accusations from lawyers and software companies.
[ Full coverage ]
Yesterday, China's National Copyright Administration Vice Director Yan Xiaohong told a side-meeting of the 2008 International Copyright Forum that: "The administration understands and supports moves by institutions, including Microsoft, to safeguard their rights." But he asked the company to be "heedful of their methods".
Microsoft has been busy dealing with the complaints. "Even media that have never contacted us before have been looking to arrange interviews," said an employee of the company's public relations department.
At a press meeting yesterday afternoon, Microsoft said the MGA validation testing software already operates in other countries and regions, and they were surprised by the reaction in China. The company did not reveal what would be their next step under such unprecedented pressure.
The company refused to respond to the accusation of hacker attack from a Chinese lawyer, who has also filed an application to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce under anti-monopoly law enforcement. Microsoft's unofficial explanation was that it is inaccurate to regard the company's validation process as "invading personal computers without user permission or judicial authorization". Its software products provide services to users' computers during operation in the same way as anti-virus software, and also need to access a computer before it starts working. It is therefore invalid to call such "access" an "invasive threat to user security".
In response to the senior copyright official's remarks, the company said they had built up a good relationship with government departments, and that they applaud and support the government's anti-piracy drive.
According to Lu Benfu, an Internet expert and Professor from the Management School of the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Microsoft had studied the relevant Chinese law before they launched MGA validation and the action was perfectly legal. But he suggested the company take the personal situation of its users into account if they hoped to develop their business in China.
The Anti-monopoly Law does not provide a precise definition of market share. Monopoly is usually defined with reference to an enterprise's profits. Using that measurement, Lu said that Microsoft was not a monopoly.
(China.org.cn by Huang Shan, October 28, 2008)