Senior executives from Lenovo Group Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. signed an intellectual property agreement on Monday at the US company’s Seattle headquarters in a deal potentially worth US$1.2 billion over the next 12 months. The two companies have joined forces to promote the use and benefits of authentic Microsoft software products in China and other 65 countries around the world.
Lenovo chairman, Yang Yuanqing, described the contract as being "the largest intellectual property agreement" the industry was aware of and in China alone it could be worth as much as US$200 million.
"Today marks a new milestone for the two companies' cooperation by extending the partnership to a global level and at the same time deepening the level of cooperation," Yang said at the ceremony.
Microsoft and Lenovo agreed to sign up for what is being called "strategic cooperation" to coincide with President Hu Jintao's official visit to the US which started yesterday.
The two companies had made up their minds on the way forward after a six month trial of a “value-added software program" under which Lenovo pre-installs genuine Microsoft Windows operating systems on many of their product lines.
"I believe that improved intellectual property tights protection in China will create more favorable conditions for China-US cooperation in the software area," Vice Premier Wu Yi in a speech at the ceremony.
"Working together with Microsoft we have made it easy for our joint customers to get the reliability, service and support only available from genuine software and the pricing is competitive," Yang said.
"By taking the lead in providing genuine value-added software on PCs in China, Lenovo is demonstrating foresight and wisdom as a responsible global industry leader," said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft.
"Microsoft commends Lenovo for recognizing the importance of intellectual property rights and the value of genuine software,” he said. “We will continue to work with Lenovo and other industry partners to ensure that customers get the greatest value and performance from their PCs."
The signing of the agreement has won endorsement from the Chinese government.
(China Daily April 19, 2006)