We all know that China cares very little for our silly copyright laws, and that is illustrated nicely with these black-market knock-offs of Windows Vista that have hit the streets of Beijing.
Instead of paying $400 for a copy of the latest, resource-hungry version of Microsoft’s flagship product, you can get a “Frankenbuild” version on the street for less than $3, including realistic-looking packaging. Frankenbuilds are versions of the OS that combine different portions of different test builds into a (theoretically) close approximation of the final build of the software. These versions are buggy as all hell, but at less than the cost of a Whopper, that’s to be expected.
The Chinese government tends to look the other way when confronted with semi-piracy like this, as it has no love for Microsoft. That attitude is shaping up to be a major trade barrier between itself and the USA, though China’s argument that the average Chinese citizen can’t afford Microsoft’s prices seems to be a valid one, when at upwards of $500 for a fully-loaded version of Vista, the average American can’t, either.