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By | Kelly Fiveash 24th September 2008 14:21

MS wields price cutlass at Chinese pirates

Slashes Office prices in the People's Republic

Microsoft has slashed the retail price of its Office 2007 suite in China by over 70 per cent for versions to counter widespread piracy in the country.

The software giant has cut the selling price for Office 2007 Home and Student Edition to 199 yuan ($29) from 699 yuan ($102) as a special promotional offer that kicked off on Monday and will last through the country’s National Week holiday.

MS hopes to convince customers in China to buy their products rather than opt for pirated versions by providing the software at more affordable prices, said the firm’s Beijing-based PR man Jim Lin.

"With this price, we believe more customers can enjoy authorised software products," he told Reuters.

However, many will argue that such a move will do nothing to stamp out piracy in the region because ultimately Microsoft is still asking the Chinese to stump up cash for the product which they can get for free elsewhere.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), which represents the money-making interests of the lucrative software industry, claimed in May this year that a staggering 82 per cent of software floating around in China was pirated.

So, it’s probably fair to say that Microsoft’s decision to drop Office 2007 prices in the country won’t have much of an impact.

According to Reuters, China is an intellectual property thorn in the side of the US movie, music, software and book industries, which together blame piracy for $3.5bn in lost in the People’s Republic in 2007.

In not unrelated news, Microsoft confirmed earlier this week that it would withdraw support for Office 2003 service 2 within the next month.

The firm advised customers to upgrade to SP3 of the software. Office 2003 SP2 support will be dropped on 14 October, the company said. ®

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