BEIJING - Microsoft launched a large-scale campaign to promote the authorized version of Windows 7 in China on Tuesday, in accordance with the latest intellectual property protection moves initiated by the government.
During the next few months, Microsoft will employ various methods, including nationwide advertising, price discounts, cooperation with computer makers and face-to-face talks with customers, to encourage people in China to use the genuine version of Windows 7.
During the initial stage of the campaign, Microsoft will focus on six major cities, including Beijing, Nanjing and Hangzhou, Simon Leung, chairman and CEO of Microsoft's operations in China, said on the first anniversary of Windows 7's launch in the country.
"We are encouraged by the recent regulations by the State Council on intellectual property protection," said Leung. He pointed out that the rule changes have given Microsoft the faith to continually pursue innovation in the country, and have also created a solid foundation for building an innovative economic environment in China.
On Nov 26, Jiang Zengwei, vice-minister of commerce, said the government had launched an inspection into the use of genuine software in central and local government. The first batch of 29 central government agencies has already been inspected.
On Monday, a group of US senators wrote to vice-premier Wang Qishan, raising a range of issues, including the software revenues of US companies in China. Wang is scheduled to lead a delegation to Washington for an annual trade summit, which has been held between the countries since 1983.
Microsoft has long been plagued by pirated Windows software in China, which prohibited customers from upgrading their operating systems to a more advanced edition, according to Wei Qing, consumer & online marketing officer of Microsoft China.
The Windows XP market share in China was a staggering 81.8 percent in November. Meanwhile Windows 7's share was a mere 10.3 percent, according to Net Applications, an Internet analytics firm.
The global number of Internet users running Windows XP was 57.9 percent last month, while the newer Windows 7 software accounted for 19.7 percent of all machines connecting to the worldwide web.
"The counterfeit copies blocked people from upgrading their software. This poses a great threat to data security, especially as customers are now inclined to shop online and reveal their personal information in the process," Wei said.
According to the market research firm IDC, 94 percent of Chinese users regard Windows 7 as a better product than Windows XP or Windows Vista. Meanwhile 89 percent of Chinese enterprises planned to upgrade their software to Windows 7 during the next 24 months.
Microsoft halted worldwide technological support for Windows XP in July.
Daniel Sun, vice-president of Microsoft China, said Windows XP has become like an old car to its users, and he urged people to upgrade their software because "the cost of maintaining an old car becomes increasingly expensive in later years".