An intriguing article by Fortune Magazine on Microsoft’s China strategy reveals how Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy officer was deployed by Bill Gates in 1999 to fix the company’s problems with the Chinese market and its government. Mundie turned around Microsoft’s strategy from short-term to long-term engagement – one from antagonism to partnership. Mundie even hired famous China lobbyist Henry Kissinger as advisor.
Bill Gates is quoted in the article, “It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not… You can get the real thing, and you get the same price.” After walking hand in hand with China’s leadership, Microsoft’s alliance with officialdom is but a short term gain. Arrogance, Microsoft’s true partner, is the enemy of progress. In the long run it will only blind Microsoft to the paradigm shift that open source signifies.