back to article Microsoft ordered to halt Win XP sales in China

Microsoft has been ordered to stop selling Windows XP in China after a court ruled that certain fonts in the operating system infringe on a Chinese firm's intellectual property. On Monday, Beijing's 1st Intermediate People's Court decided that Microsoft had overstepped a deal with Zhongyi Electronics to include the company's …


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  1. adnim


    I would have though a more suitable punishment would be to allow the continuing sale of XP. After all MS seem to be trying real hard to stop people buying XP in favour of Vista and Windows 7. MS must be celebrating this ban.

  2. captain kangaroo

    Fuck off...

    I only got as far as the first line.

    CHINA, complaining about Copyright infringement?

    Where shall we start... oh, lets see... try this google search

    That's "china operating systems fake"....

    If China are so concerned about copyright infringement, are they about to roll back their economic progress by 20 years to offset the unfair advantage they gained by selling poisonous Milk, Lead painted Children's toys, reverse engineered network kit, copied Operating systems, faked Olympic ceremonies, and Tibet?.

    are they heck...

  3. Matthew 4


    no irony in that decision eh?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    so how come...

    No-one from Microsoft was sentenced to 3 years in jail?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot calling the kettle black

    As far as I am concerned, China is an Evil state and as such has no protection.

    I advocate the use without payment of all of China's IP's and Pattents

  6. Paul 129

    Interesting times

    With the rise of China as an economic force, it will be interesting so see how its politics play on the international stage. The arrest earlier this year of RioTinto's Iron ore chief for 'stealing state secrets' ie the price of iron ore... His mistake, as far as I can tell, was to chase up China's broken contracts on iron ore and seek some sort of compensation. As he is an Australian citizen well hes dropped out of sight.

    Now add in Microsoft with IP and patent challenges, It sounds like if you do business with China, they need to get the best out of the deal or they wont play fair.

    China is becoming a very big player, I wonder how the rules will change to accommodate it.

    We live in interesting times.

  7. Tzael

    Prompt submission of objection

    Sounds to me like Zhongyi are running low on cash and have decided there is enough ambiguity in their original agreement with Microsoft to make a viable case in their favour. Let's be honest here, if there was an issue then Zhongyi Electronics should have spoken up when their font was included in Windows 98, and again for Windows Me, 2000 and XP.

    Just as well Microsoft have retired Windows XP, if they can't sell it anymore then there is reason to encourage migration to Windows 7 in China...

  8. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Yeah China is the Big Evil

    China is an Evil State (TM) so I myself advocate leaving Chinese restaurants without paying. Oh, and stealing in Chinese shops. And any "made in China" item in other shops.

    The US are not less Evil (TM) a State, but they have a huge advantage as far as boycott goes: There is nothing made in the US anymore, especially nothing worth stealing, so protester are stuck with burning stars 'n stripes.

  9. sam bo

    @ Pot calling the kettle black

    As far as I am concerned, (China) - the West, (insert country of choice) is an Evil state and as such has no protection.

    I advocate the use without payment of all of (China's) -the West's IP's and Pattents (sic).

    We are the Champions !

  10. LaeMi Qian

    @Pot calling the kettle black

    As far as I am concerned, China, the US and the UK are Evil states and as such have no protection.

    I advocate the use without payment of all Chinese, US and UK IP's and Pattents

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Coincidence ?

    I wonder if it's a coincidence that the US President is in China at the moment.

    This won't go down so well with the Obama camp.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    No XP netbooks for China, only overpriced W7 netbooks?

    Linux/Android foot in door?

  13. Big-nosed Pengie

    In the immortal words of Muntz (Nelson)

    "Ha ha".

  14. ratfox

    But does Microsoft care?

    Last I checked, they are not exactly hot on selling XP anymore, right?

    Next step: Microsoft gets sued because Zhongyi fonts are STILL used... in all these pesky pirates copies of XP you can find anywhere in China.

  15. George 24

    Anyone in China??

    I would never have believed that a single legit copy of XP had been sold in China.

  16. raving angry loony


    Can't think of a better way to stop people from getting XP and force them to buy Vista or Win7. I wonder how much Microsoft "donated" to their government in order to get this order made? This way they can "remove" XP from sale completely without being accuse of abandoning their customers, AND they can get 3rd parties to stop selling it as well, thereby forcing people onto their newer versions.

    Sounds like a real win for Microsoft there actually.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Call me paranoid

    But this smells dodgy

    Just when Microsoft WANTS to stop the sell of XP, appears a court order, ordering him to ...

    Of course Microsoft and Zhongyi would never, nerver, ever, game the system.

  18. Tony Paulazzo

    Ring ring

    'Hi Kettle, this is Pot. You're black!'

    Any truly civilised country would not do business with China. They are morally and spiritually corrupt (their government leastways).

    Mind you, hah, trying to find a government in the early 21st century that isn't... there's a quest for Frodo.

    Piracy icon for the party, not the deed.

  19. P. Lee


    MS: Sorry sir, the government says you have to buy Windows7not XP.

    Chinaman: "Buy" you say?

  20. TeeCee Gold badge


    I believe you've just hit the nail on the head.

    The only thing you've missed is a bit of speculation on how many local / court officials got cut in for a percentage of the take.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Kettle calling the pot black

    As far as I am concerned, Microsoft is an evil state and as such has no protection.

    I advocate the use without payment of all of Microsoft's IP and patents.

  22. Hans 1

    Illegal fonts you say???

    Arial is a rippoff of Helvetica! True IP theft that has been shipping with Windows since what? Windows 3.0 (I dunno about 1.0 or 2.0)?

    Apple is paying royalties for the use of fonts in its OS unlike a certain company from Redmond .... then again, GNU/Linux does not pay either and I use it primarily and I install MS fonts, which are required for better compatibility with wine! (GNU/Linux ships with free fonts by default, i.e. not the MS fonts)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    kettle calling the Pot black

    As far as I am concerned, USA is an Evil state and as such has no protection.

    I advocate the use without payment of all of USA's IP's and Pattents

  24. CT

    Which fonts?

    Which fonts are involved? no details in the linked story either.

  25. James 5


    .. an Accountant friend of mine was working with a company that wanted to trade in China. They went to a Chinese professor at a UK University for some advice. He started off by saying. "Remember, the Chinese had an extensive trade network when you were banging rocks together in caves. You will never win if you try to outsmart us."

    Something Microsoft would be well advised to remember....

  26. McToo


    May I just point captain kangaroo and AC@23:03 in the direction of a google search of 'China Unequal Treaties' - here's one:

    Yes, I know it's wikipedia but they've got the general facts right. So, which is now the blackest pot?

  27. Joeykins
    Gates Halo

    halt Win XP *sales*?

    As far as I can tell MS have never "sold" a single piece of software in China. I have to support an office in Shanghai and I constantly have to remind them that software is something that we have to pay for.

  28. Jean-Luc

    Interesting. When will we see...

    a big Chinese company getting dinged for infringing a middling size Western one?

  29. James Robertson 2

    that what they did to Apple

    That what MS did to Apple in the 80s they had a licence to use Apples stuff for win 3.1, but they used the code graphics etc in win 95, eventually settled out of court and paid Apple, Apple by then needed the money so had to settle. Am not surprised that they are still doing this kind of thing.

  30. spegru
    Thumb Up

    Nice to see

    China joining the international community where IP does have a value.

    All we need now is for the RMB/Yuan to rise to a sensible level where they can stop undermining the rest of the world's jobs.

    My only gripe with this? Can a font really be Intellectual Property??!

  31. John Square

    20 years of economic progress and .... Tibet

    Not sure Tibet contributes that much to economic progress of the whole state.

    I think it's like the Wales of China. It's headed by a bloke called Dai Llama, isn't it?


  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Hans 1

    <pedant>Sorry Hans, close but no cigar! To the trained eye they are very different. Helvetica, originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, is very similar to a font called Akzidenz Grotesk which was released in 1896 (yes, really). Arial was designed by Monotype and based on their own font imaginatively called Monotype Grotesque (regular weights based on Grotesque 215), originally for IBM laser printers.</pedant>

    OT: I'd just stop selling software in China. Wasn't that mooted with the whole EU/IE debacle? If they've infringed, then they've infringed! In fact they get to have the moral high-ground fora change! So long as they got a fair hearing. It could be argued that China are trying to do the right thing! it's not as US are innocent of protectionism like this, is it? See how much harder it is when you can't lobby your buddies on the Hill? One thing you can't deny, things are going to get interesting!

  33. Philip Nicholls Silver badge

    Pot Kettle Black

    Responding to those who drew a parallel between China's economic growth and its less-than-satisfactory record in other, ahem, cultural areas, was it not the Wild West where the expressions "carpetbaggers" and "snake oil salesmen" were coined?

  34. Estariel
    Thumb Up

    Legalised Piracy?

    Let me get this right.....

    MS cannot sell Windows in China anymore, but we know the chinese [people are still going to use it.

    So the chinese government has just legitimised 100% piracy of Windows in their country.

    All the benefit but at zero cost.

    Maybe this will catch on in other places....

  35. Winkypop Silver badge

    A Chinese Government spokesman...

    ....Whu Flungdung; said today...

    "We insist that Microsoft stop selling XP immediately. Instead they should continue to give it away via the local distribution network "

  36. JaitcH

    MS still stealing IP

    The is par for the MS course.

    They purloined the name Internet Explorer and later paid for it's misdeeds.

    And on and on. Now the big software thief of the northwest (USA) has been caught out (again) it will try to solve the problem by pouring money on it.

    I always think that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and therefore I only buy one copy of MS software and use it on each and every machine I desire. Windows V7 are selling for $3 down the road; I still prefer XP.

  37. John Square
    Thumb Up

    "Banging rocks together in caves"

    The prof has a point.

    There's also the fact that the Chinese have a considerably longer-term viewpoint than those of us in the grubby, materialistic, "me me me" west.

    They are perfectly content to build dynasties over a thousand years*, whereas we get impatient with 30 second advert breaks in our favourite TV shows.

    *wasn't there a german chap who tried this? Us westerners don't have the legs for that kng of timespan.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Honourable" and "China"

    Unlikely to be used in the same sentence without a "Not " between them.

    Excellent bedfellows with a certain large software company.

  39. Paul 4

    Its not IP theft

    This is not about MS stealing IP (which Im sure they have done) but about the exact terms and extent of a contract. Meh.

  40. Fred 24


    If this stops those in China being sued for IP theft then im all for it because it will help the world economy, but has anyone else drawn a correlation to the windows software being pulled from the stock exchange and a recent (if slight) improvement in the media reports about our recession slowing?

  41. Richard 102


    The Chinese government is arguing with Microsoft? Hm, pass the popcorn. I hope this one goes the distance.

  42. Jude Bradley
    Thumb Down

    Microsoft ordered to halt Win XP sales in China’

    I thought a real punishment would be to make China use Vista

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irony - *verb* like steely but made of iron..

    I think some people only see one half of what makes this ironic. The pot, kettle, black nature of the accusation, the fact Windows XP and probably most of Microsoft's software library is sold on the street with impunity for about $1 for the lot is only one part.

    The true irony is that it took a nation like China to prosecute Microsoft for what most of us have suspected them of doing to countless companies over the last 3 decades.

    Windows itself remains below suspicion of course, but no one really cares about that. If anyone truly cared that, amongst others, the Mac OS was.. erm.. inspirational to the design of Windows, then Microsoft would have been successfully shut down 30 years ago. It's the small businesses that created software like Partition Magic that we felt for.

    So I consider it the definition of irony that it took the legal system of a country that ignores piracy to take down Microsoft for piracy.

  44. Jeremy 8
    Gates Horns

    Microsoft's boasting

    "This August, Microsoft boasted that a Chinese court jailed two men for three and a half years and two accomplices for two years for distributing a bootleg copy of Windows XP."

    Getting someone thrown into a Chinese prison for three and a half years for something with regard to proprietary software should not attract more than a fine is not something I'd boast about.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @captain kangaroo

    Who is complaining, China, or the Chinese Firm...

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