I note that CNN is carrying an article in which Bill Gates reaffirms that piracy is a good thing for them in China (as he said back in 1998: “Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don’t pay for the software […] Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade”) because it built up their market share and suppressed Linux adoption… and they’re starting to cash in now:
Today Gates openly concedes that tolerating piracy turned out to be Microsoft’s best long-term strategy. That’s why Windows is used on an estimated 90% of China’s 120 million PCs. “It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not,” Gates says. “Are you kidding? You can get the real thing, and you get the same price.” Indeed, in China’s back alleys, Linux often costs more than Windows because it requires more disks. And Microsoft’s own prices have dropped so low it now sells a $3 package of Windows and Office to students. [...] Microsoft’s China strategy is clearly paying off. More than 24 million PCs will be sold this year, adding to the 120 million already in place. Although the company’s China revenues average no more than $7 for every PC in use (compared with $100 to $200 in developed countries), Gates says those figures will eventually converge.
Speaking of Microsoft, have a look at what it means to become a M$ “partner“…
Don’t run Lotus Notes as your e-mail client. Don’t talk about the music you listened to on your iPod on the trip to Redmond or to a field office. Don’t schedule online meetings on WebEx or call people from Microsoft on Skype. And, above all, don’t “Google.” You get the point by now: It might sound trite, but showing a commitment to Microsoft products and technologies is critical when meeting with Microsoft people. And steering clear of using — or even casually talking about using — competitors’ wares is imperative. It’s especially important to avoid anything involving Google Inc. Although it has become natural for many people to do it, don’t use “Google” as a verb — and, if possible, don’t say the word at all, says Mike Harvath, president of Revenue Rocket Consulting Group, a Bloomington, Minn.-based company that consults with partners on working with Microsoft. “Clearly, Google’s the evil empire right now [in Redmond],” Harvath says. “Google anything is bad, really bad. That is an absolutely off-limits topic.” [...] “The best thing [small partner companies] can do is dedicate themselves completely to Microsoft and look as loyal as possible to the Microsoft platform. I’ve seen Microsoft partner with 100-percent-loyal partners that don’t have a very good product [more readily] than they would with a bigger partner that also has a relationship with a Microsoft competitor.” Partners should even be careful when mentioning other vendors while talking about customer wins. Microsoft folks like to hear about all-Microsoft deals, says Rich Freeman, a freelance writer and frequent Redmond Channel Partner contributor who worked in various partner-facing positions at Microsoft over a span of almost nine years. Many partners have left meetings in Redmond wondering why their Microsoft counterparts weren’t more impressed with wins that also involved technologies from companies that compete with Microsoft, he says. [...] to paraphrase President John F. Kennedy: Ask not what Microsoft can do for your company, but show what your company can do for Microsoft. A common mistake is spending too much time asking for something and too little talking about how you can deliver value for Microsoft. [...] “Microsoft is a software company with a partner program that has one objective — to drive revenue for Microsoft. Absolutely every partner that’s part of the program is there to accomplish that objective.” [...] it’s important to talk up Microsoft products — which, of course, partners should be using — as much as possible. “[Microsoft people] just believe that their products are far superior to everything else in the market. That culture has permeated every employee in the company,” he says. “Mention Vista,” he continues, referring to the operating system that Microsoft released earlier this year. “Say [you're] running it and what a productivity boost it is.” Harvath notes that bad feedback about Vista has filtered back to Microsoft through corporate accounts and the channel, so a positive review of it from a partner could be a key to making a good impression. The same goes for Windows Live, he says, especially Microsoft’s much-maligned Live search engine, which has struggled in the face of competition from Google and others: “Sprinkle the word ‘live’ liberally into all Microsoft-related communications; they’ll love you for it.”
Update October 15: I noticed this tidbit in an article titled “What’s really broken with Windows Update – Trust“:
What bothers me more than the specific issues themselves is the attitude that Microsoft seems to take to reported issues. The overall impression that I get as someone who deals directly with the company is that Microsoft believes that it is right and anyone making a fuss is ultimately wrong.
Update Sept. 10, 2009:
A curious anecdote: “One time when I interviewed with Microsoft in Redmond I couldn’t get over this sense of corporate entitlement – it was one of the biggest turn-offs that I had during my interviewing day there. I got the feeling that I wasn’t going to fit in, no matter how smart I thought (or they thought) I was.”
And yet another tale of what it means to be a Microsoft “partner”: “When it suited its purposes, Microsoft touted i4i as a ‘Microsoft Partner’ able to provide software that Microsoft could not. But behind i4i’s back, Microsoft usurped i4i’s invention, destroying i4i’s ability to compete in the market that it had created”
Update Dec. 18, 2009: “Microsoft reportedly told journalists gathered for a company press event in Germany not to use or mention Apple products.” Source