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Ballmer nails Founder to Windows mast

'China', 'rampant piracy', etcetera, etcetera

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Founder Technology, China's second biggest PC maker, after Lenovo, is to pre-install Windows Vista on business lines and laptops. Previously, it put Windows only on consumer desktops as a matter of course - about 30 per cent of overall shipments.

It looks like Microsoft will plough much of the OEM cash straight back into Founder, which has agreed to carry Windows Live on PCs shipped out over the next two years. No sums have been released. But this is nice news for Microsoft, enabling it to grab a few more fistfuls of yuan from a country where "rampant" and "piracy" go together hand in glove, in the minds of the press and American politicians at least.

Indeed Microsoft is so pleased with the Founder contract that it made sure to pencil its signing for Steve Ballmer, as he conducts his ceremonial tour of the world. The Microsoft chieftain was let loose on an unsuspecting planet a few weeks ago: He's been spotted taking in a show or two, and indulging in a bit of sightseeing in Europe. Today, as it's Wednesday, he's hobnobbing in China.

Ballmer may be spending more time in The People's Republic, if Sen. John McCain gets his way. In June, the Republican presidential candidate suggested America's least diplomatic CEO, as his choice as America's Ambassador to China. Reports at the time say McCain was joking. We are not so sure, but it's a moot point. The odds of McCain becoming the US president are low, and the odds that he actually asked Ballmer to be the new John Bolton are even lower. Oh well. ®

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