Microsoft has signed an agreement with Lenovo to ensure that its PCs ship with licensed versions of Windows software on its computers, as Microsoft ramps up its latest campaign to fight piracy in China,
As part of the agreement signed yesterday, Lenovo will also encourage its resellers to promote PCs with genuine Microsoft software.
Lenovo's pledge is notable, given that the company has long been China's largest PC vendor, with a market share of 36.7%. The company is also known to have a vast distribution network in the country that extends into China's smaller cities.
Microsoft has been fighting piracy in the country for years. In a recent survey, the company bought 169 PCs from the country's local electronic shops and found that all contained pirated Windows software.
The high piracy rate is partly the result of PC manufacturers installing a free, but non-Windows operating system on the computer before it is shipped to the market, according to Microsoft. Local resellers then load the PC with pirated copies of Windows in order to save on costs.
Yesterday, Microsoft also signed a similar agreement with Chinese electronics vendor Gome Electrical Appliances, which said it will sell PCs pre-installed with licensed Windows software in all its stores. This marks a change from last year when Microsoft sued Gome, claiming that it was selling PCs installed with pirated versions of Windows and Office at a store in Shanghai.
Microsoft announced the agreements as the company's latest anti-piracy campaign, called "Keep it Real", reached the Chinese city of Guangzhou. The campaign is warning consumers on the security dangers of installing bootleg software, which can often contain malware, according to the company.
In addition to the agreements, Microsoft also said on Tuesday that it was "announcing actions" against 14 resellers in Guangzhou and in the Chinese city of Shenzhen for allegedly dealing pirated copies of Windows.
In December and January, the company also identified PC resellers in Beijing and Shanghai who were allegedly distributing unlicensed versions of Windows. Microsoft has said it will take legal action against the PC resellers if a settlement isn't reached.