Ballmer: Piracy Kills Chinese Market Earnings By 95%

Despite the fact the number of PCs in China and the U.S. are pretty similar, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed on Wednesday that the company sees 95 percent less revenue coming from China than the States. Why, you ask? Piracy, of course. Other tech companies have had the same problem in China, which could indicate that the Chinese government hasn’t done enough to stop the acquisition of costly products for free.

Ballmer ruled out the idea that software is too expensive. “If you can [afford a PC], you could afford the software,” said Ballmer, the statement clearly directed toward the Chinese government. Perhaps, if the same rampant piracy was occurring in a smaller country this issue could have been tabled a bit longer, but Microsoft stands to lose billions in the Chinese market if the same behavior continues.

Ballmer claimed that each PC sold in India generated six times the earnings than that of PCs sold in China. He said that if Chinese IP protection was as robust and enforced as India’s that the market in China would be worth “billions of dollars.”

The government in China has recognized that there is a piracy issue, and claims to have taken steps to cut down the level of piracy. There has been some progress, as 78 percent of software installed in China last year was pirated, compared to 86 percent in 2005. Still, an 8 percent decrease over a five-year period definitely isn’t enough to abate Microsoft.

[via Ars Technica]