at_$tephen writes "Fortune magazine has an article stressing the Chinese market's importance to Microsoft's long term strategy, and touching on Linux's involvement in the Chinese market. In the early days of Microsoft rampant piracy helped establish it as the de facto standard in PCs despite good alternatives. History may be unfolding again here, with the exception that having the Chinese government as an ally has huge additional benefits. Or perhaps Gates has met his match with the Chinese government. 'In another boost for Microsoft, the government last year required local PC manufacturers to load legal software on their computers. Lenovo, the market leader, had been shipping as few as 10% of its PCs that way, and even US PC makers in China were selling many machines "naked." Another mandate requires gradual legalization of the millions of computers in state-owned enterprises. In all, Gates says, the number of new machines shipped with legal software nationwide has risen from about 20% to more than 40% in the past 18 months.'"