Chinese court halts Microsoft OS sales

Microsoft, always happy to defend its own products, has been ordered to stop selling some versions of Windows in China, after a court found it had violated a licensing agreement.

The dispute centers around some Chinese fonts that Microsoft licensed from Zhongyi Electronic for use in Windows 95. However, Zhongyi alleged that Microsoft continued to use its fonts in subsequent versions of Windows, including Windows 98, 2000, 2003, and XP.

The ruling doesn’t affect Vista and Windows 7.

It’s hard to say how badly the decision will affect Microsoft’s Chinese sales. Not very, probably: ironically, this is largely because, thanks to piracy, its legitimate sales in the country are tiny.

Microsoft says it is appealing the ruling. It says it “respects intellectual property rights” and believes that the licensing agreement did in fact allow it to use the fonts.