Microsoft has joined forces with China’s Alibaba Group to combat the sale of pirated software in China. Under a new agreement between the two companies, Alibaba agreed to remove listings for suspected counterfeit software from its Taobao and Tmall online marketplaces when Microsoft notifies it of the listings.
Microsoft has had a longstanding problem with pirated software in China – Steve Ballmer said in 2011 that the company’s revenue in China was roughly five percent of what it made in the U.S., despite the two countries having roughly equal computer sales at the time. The new deal should help Microsoft crack down on counterfeits sold through one of China’s largest online retail outlets, which may help curb piracy in the country overall.
New ties between the two companies are hardly surprising: the two companies have worked together in some capacity since 2007, and Microsoft launched an online store on Tmall.com in 2013. What’s more, Alibaba CTO Jian Wang used to work for Microsoft Research, and has said that his time at the company was a significant influence on his current work.
The deal is big news for Alibaba as well, especially as the company is working to expand the international reach of its Taobao marketplace.