Big bad Microsoft has won a lawsuit against a Chinese company that "violated intellectual property rights," according to a French Press Agency report published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The company had been installing unlicensed copies of Windows on the computers it sold. Huahai Computer Co., claims to have been capable of producing 100,000 computers annually for the Chinese government sector, according to a description of the company at a trade show Web site. According to the site, Huahai in 1998 was named one of the top 100 Nongovernmental Science and Technology Enterprises and Shanghai High-tech Enterprises, by the Shanghai government.
Microsoft claimed that the company was installing illegal copies of the Windows operating system, a potentially large loss, if Huahai was indeed producing 100k systems each year. As restitution, the company was ordered to pay Microsoft $33,735 and publish an apology in a local newspaper.
Software "piracy' has long been a problem in China, where the retail cost of a copy of Microsoft Office 2000 is about $480, which represents about five month's salary for the average white-collar office worker, according to an August 2000 report at The Register.
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