IT big hitters lobby US Gov on China crisis

A delegation of big cheeses from some of the world's top software companies, led by Microsoft mouthpiece Steve Ballmer, is heading to Washington.

The CEOs of 12 major software players - including Microsoft, Adobe and Symantec - will lobby the Obama administration to crack down on software piracy in China.

Apparently, nearly 80 per cent of China's computers are running on illegally-copied code. Exactly what politicians in Washington are supposed to do to stop billions of people on the other side of the world from using a hooky copy of Windows XP is anyone's guess, but we're sure Steve Ballmer will have a good old shout about it anyway.

Using pirated software is so entrenched in the Chinese way of doing things that it will take more than a few puny trade sanctions to make a dent in the level of institutional piracy seen there.

One Beijing insurance company was recently sued by Microsoft for running 450 copies of its operating system without paying the company a dime.

Even Government offices in China have come under fire for using unlicensed software in the past.