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Microsoft cuts prices in China to fight piracy

Retail

Microsoft Corp has cut the selling price in China of one of its software products by over 70% to counter rampant piracy.

It is the first special offer since Microsoft entered the Chinese market in 1992, the company said.

Microsoft said it had slashed the price for Office 2007 Home and Student Edition to 199 yuan ($29) from 699 yuan ($102). The promotion, which started on Monday, will last through next week's National Week holiday.

The price cut is designed to make Microsoft's products in China more affordable and more promotions are likely in future, said Jim Lin, the company's public relations manager in Beijing.

“With this price, we believe more customers can enjoy authorized software products,” he said.

Violation of intellectual property rights has been a running sore in China's relations with its trading partners, including the United States.

US movie, music, software and book industry groups alone estimate they lost $3.5 billion in China due to piracy last year, three times more than in 2001.

Microsoft, the world's largest software firm, is among the hardest-hit victims. Pirated versions of Microsoft's Office software can sell in China for less than 10 yuan ($1.50).

Last month police detained the operator of a website, “Tomato Garden,” from which millions of pirated versions of Microsoft software had been downloaded, according to media reports. (Reuters)

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