Microsoft and Alibaba Group plan to work together to raise awareness among Chinese consumers of the security risks that come with using counterfeit software while strengthening measures to prevent pirated Microsoft products from being sold on Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com online shopping websites.
Under a memorandum of understanding announced today, the two companies committed to jointly conduct programs through Alibaba’s e-commerce properties that alert consumers to the dangers of using counterfeit and unlicensed software.
Pirated software lacks safeguards against spyware, malware and viruses “that can lead to computer crashes and network system failures, loss of personal data, and sensitive business information leaks.,” said Tim Cranton, Microsoft associate general counsel and chief legal counsel for Greater China. Consumers in 2014 spent an estimated $25 billion and 1.2 billion hours addressing security problems caused by malware found on non-genuine software, while companies spent $127 billion dealing with security issues and an additional $364 billion dealing with data breaches, according to an IDC white paper sponsored by Microsoft.
Through the collaboration with Alibaba, “Not only will users’ information security be protected, but legitimate businesses and innovators in China will also benefit from a safer and more robust e-commerce marketplace with safeguards to protect intellectual property rights,” Cranton said in a statement.
The collaboration is part of ongoing efforts by Microsoft and Alibaba Group dating back to 2007 to educate consumers and businesses, enhance Internet security, and help the U.S. software giant battle Chinese counterfeiters and the widespread use of illegally copied Microsoft products in China.
Under the latest agreement, Alibaba agreed to remove product listings for suspected counterfeit or unlicensed Microsoft products from Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com upon notification by Microsoft. The software company in 2013 launched a flagship virtual store on Tmall.com, China’s largest B2C shopping website, to promote genuine Microsoft products.
Alibaba Group and affiliated companies including Alipay, China’s largest e-payments provider, also agreed to provide information to consumers who mistakenly buy unauthorized and counterfeit software that will help them get their money back from sellers.
Alibaba Group is “constantly working with partners and stakeholders to enhance IPR protection on our platforms in order to tackle the problem of counterfeiting effectively,” said Ni Liang, the company’s senior director of security operations. “Microsoft has been a great partner on this front, and we believe that this agreement will go toward building an orderly e-commerce environment where consumers’ interests are best protected,” Ni said in a statement.