Microsoft China admitted the behind curtain role in a legal action against software piracy. The Microsoft China chief director of intellectual protection Wu Haitao told media that Microsoft initialized the action which resulted an influential piracy software site, the Tomato Gardens, taken down by Chinese government, its operator arrested. However, Wu assured the media that Microsoft would not take action against individual personal users. Vice general manager of the Microsoft Greater China, Liu Fengming said Microsoft China foresaw a potential backfire from individual users, but didn't expected it to be as bad. Microsoft did not make the move, but rather hired an IP firm which allied several third party software vendor to fire the lawsuit. Nevertheless, the management at Microsoft China found sitting on a burning cushion with all the fingers pointed to Microsoft.
According to a survey conducted by a Chinese portal site, among 100,000 participated, only 5% back Microsoft's anti-piracy effort, while over 80% support the piracy site operator. Liu told the media that Microsoft had long been adopting a 'Three E' doctrine, that is 'Eduction, Engineering, and Enforcement' in China. Liu said Microsoft believe in a 'moderate' approach in intellectual protection. The main controversy surrounding this particular case is the site is individual oriented. So far, Microsoft's anti-piracy actions in China had been mostly targeting government and business clients.
Although government and business clients in China are buying more and more copies of Windows and Office Suites from the company, with China's average income level, it is obvious that the only possible way most individual person would be able to afford a computer at home would be running on a low cost operating system. So far, Microsoft has been maintaining a commending lead in the software market in China by allowing piracy as long as it is for personal use. If the ordinary users sense a tightening control of copy-right enforcement, they may switch to alternative low cost solutions, such as Linux, which Microsoft will be hate to see. Once individual users get used to using Linux at home, they may start trying out Linux at work, and that will be the end of game for the software giant.