Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Strikes Back In Vietnam (Leaked)

Ho Chi Minh



Summary: Microsoft co-opts diplomats that the US public pays for to lobby for changes in law overseas and "MICROSOFT CHOSE TO USE ITS SINGAPORE LEGAL OFFICE AS THE "BAD COP" IN ORDER TO KEEP MR. CUONG OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT AND PRESERVE HIS "GOOD COP" ROLE WITH LOCAL COMPANIES," reveals a secret diplomatic cable

In a record labelled "VIETNAM'S IPR ENFORCEMENT: MICROSOFT STRIKES BACK UNCLASSIFIED", information is revealed regarding Microsoft's operations in Vietnam, which we recently covered in this post. Also see:





Let's go through he cable very quickly and highlight some bits of interest:








060441Z Nov 02

2002HOCHI01123 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ0090

PAGE 01 HO CHI 01123 01 OF 02 060451Z ACTION STR-00

INFO LOG-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 ITCE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 EAP-00 EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 UTED-00 VC-00 FRB-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 LAB-01 LOC-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OES-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /010W ------------------040D37 060550Z /38 FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7037 INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI AMEMBASSY BANGKOK AMEMBASSY BEIJING AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 001123

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE PLS PASS TO USTR EBRYAN AND KALVAREZ

E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: VM, ECON, ETRD, KIPR, IPROP SUBJECT: VIETNAM\'S IPR ENFORCEMENT: MICROSOFT STRIKES BACK UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HO CHI 01123 01 OF 02 060451Z

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS (IPR) ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES IN HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM RAIDED LOCAL COMPUTER SHOPS ON OCTOBER 17, SEIZING APPROXIMATELY 7000 PIRATED DISKS. THIS ACTION MARKS THE FIRST ILLEGAL SOFTWARE RAID IN VIETNAM. ALTHOUGH MICROSOFT CLAIMED VICTORY, THE RAID IN FACT HAD LIMITED SUCCESS DUE TO INADEQUATE TRAINING AND MICROSOFT\'S OWN INTERNAL DILEMMA - WHETHER TO PUSH FOR STRONG IPR ENFORCEMENT OR GOOD RELATIONS WITH RETAIL DISTRIBUTORS. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) MICROSOFT ESTABLISHED A REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE IN HANOI IN 1996 AND A BRANCH IN HCMC TWO MONTHS AGO. IT IS THE FIRST SOFTWARE COMPANY TO TRY TO ENFORCE THE 1997 U.S-VIETNAM COPYRIGHT AGREEMENT. WHEN MICROSOFT\'S CHIEF REPRESENTATIVE IN VIETNAM, MR. NGO P HUC CUONG, OPENED THE HCMC OFFICE, HE TOLD CONSUL GENERAL AND ECONOFF THAT MICROSOFT PLANNED TO RAID ILLEGAL SOFTWARE SHOPS AND CRACK DOWN ON VIETNAM\'S RAMPANT PIRACY RATE. MR. CUONG ESTIMATED THIS RATE AT 94 PERCENT, DOWN FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR\'S 97 PERCENT.

3. (SBU) PLANNING FOR THE ACTUAL RAID REACHED HIGH LEVELS OF INTRIGUE, AND ILLUSTRATES WHY IPR ENFORCEMENT IS SO DIFFICULT IN VIETNAM. MICROSOFT CHOSE TO USE ITS SINGAPORE LEGAL OFFICE AS THE \"BAD COP\" IN ORDER TO KEEP MR. CUONG OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT AND PRESERVE HIS \"GOOD COP\" ROLE WITH LOCAL COMPANIES. THE SINGAPORE REPRESENTATIVE WORKED CLOSELY WITH AN EXPATRIATE LAW FIRM IN HCMC, AS WELL AS MR. HUYNH TAN PHONG, THE HEAD OF THE MARKET MANAGEMENT BOARD (MMB). (NOTE: SOURCES SAY THAT MICROSOFT\'S DECISION TO USE ITS SINGAPORE OFFICE MAY HAVE BACKFIRED. THE SINGAPORE OFFICE, FAMILIAR WITH THAILAND AND INDIA, FAILED TO APPRECIATE THE DIFFICULTY OF WORKING IN A COMMUNIST COUNTRY WHERE IPR ENFORCEMENT UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 01123 01 OF 02 060451Z IS A BRAND-NEW AND SUSPECT CONCEPT. MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND MUTUAL FRUSTRATION WERE FREQUENT. CONGEN NOMINATED MR. PHONG FOR AN IPR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS GRANT LAST SUMMER AND WILL CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON BUILDING IPR ENFORCEMENT CAPACITY AS PART OF THE MISSIONWIDE STRATEGY. END NOTE.)

4. (SBU) THE MMB IS THE RELEVANT IPR INSPECTION AUTHORITY ON SOFTWARE PIRACY. MICROSOFT HELD A ONE-DAY TRAINING FOR 40 MMB INSPECTORS ON HOW TO IDENTIFY COUNTERFEIT DISKS, WHICH ARE EASILY DISTINGUISHABLE FROM GENUINE PRODUCTS. HOWEVER, MR. PHONG WAS RELUCTANT TO PROCEED WITHOUT SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FROM THE HCMC PEOPLE\'S COMMITTEE. MICROSOFT ACCORDINGLY SOUGHT AND OBTAINED STRONG ENDORSEMENT FOR THE RAID FROM DR. NGUYEN THIEN NHAN, THE COMMITTEE\'S FIRST VICE CHAIRMAN AND AN ACTIVE IT SUPPORTER. BUT AT THE LAST MINUTE, MR. PHONG POSTPONED THE RAID - WITHOUT EXPLANATION - POSSIBLY TO ASSERT HIS INDEPENDENCE.

5. (U) ON THE APPOINTED DAY, MMB INSPECTION TEAMS, WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM MICROSOFT AND THE EXPAT LAW FIRM IN TOW, SIMULTANEOUSLY RAIDED SEVEN RETAIL OUTLETS AND SEIZED APPROXIMATELY 7000 DISKS. THE STORES RANGED FROM SMALL \"MOM AND POP\" SHOPS TO LARGE SOPHISTICATED OPERATIONS. ONE STORE WAS EVEN SELLING PIRATED SOFTWARE ON ITS WEBSITE, WWW.PCLEHOAN.COM. MMB TEAMS CONFISCATED THE DISKS AND WILL EVENTUALLY DESTROY THEM. SOME OF THE SHOP OWNERS COMPLAINED, \"HOW CAN YOU DO THIS WHEN THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF IS USING OUR (COUNTERFEIT) STUFF?\" THE MMB, ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR SETTING THE FINES, HAS NOT YET ANNOUNCED THE CHARGES OR THE AMOUNTS. FINES COULD REACH VND 20-40 MILLION (USD1300-2600) FOR THE FIRST VIOLATION AND VND 50-70 MILLION (USD3300-4600) FOR EACH ADDITIONAL VIOLATION. EACH PIRATED DISK COULD BE CONSIDERED A SEPARATE VIOLATION. UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 01123 01 OF 02 060451Z

6. (SBU) THE EXPATRIATE LAWYER WORKING WITH MICROSOFT CALLED THE RAID A SUCCESS, BUT POINTED OUT VARIOUS WEAKNESSES IN THE ENFORCEMENT CHAIN. FIRST, THE MMB TEAMS FOCUSED ONLY ON THE MICROSOFT TRADEMARK VIOLATION. TEAMS SEIZED MICROSOFT SOFTWARE AND LEFT BEHIND BLANK DISKS OR BLATANTLY PIRATED SOFTWARE OF NON- MICROSOFT ORIGIN. SECOND, EACH MMB TEAM HAD A DIFFERENT APPROACH. SOME TEAMS LEFT BEHIND DISKS LABELED ONLY AS \"MS WORD,\" WHILE OTHERS SEIZED ANY MICROSOFT PRODUCT, REGARDLESS OF LABELING. THIRD, THE TEAMS SEIZED ONLY A SMALL NUMBER OF DISKS, ALTHOUGH MICROSOFT\'S PRE-RAID SURVEY SHOWED THAT EACH STORE STOCKED 5000- 10,000 PIRATED DISKS. THE LAW FIRM REPRESENTATIVE WHO ACCOMPANIED MMB ON THE RAID URGED MICROSOFT TO INSTRUCT MMB TO SEIZE GREATER QUANTITIES OF PIRATED MATERIAL, BUT THE MICROSOFT REPRESENTATIVE BACKED DOWN IN THE FACE OF ANGRY PROTESTS FROM SHOP OWNERS. FINALLY, THE TEAMS SEIZED A DISPROPORTIONATE AMOUNT OF DISKS FROM SMALL OPERATORS, WHOSE SALES HAVE LITTLE IMPACT ON THE MARKET. THE MMB SEIZED ONLY APPROXIMATELY 500 DISKS FROM EACH OF THE BIG OPERATORS, AND LESS THAN 100 FROM THE STORE SELLING PIRATED SOFTWARE ON THE INTERNET (AFTER SHOP MANAGERS AGAIN DISPUTED MICROSOFT\'S RIGHT TO SEIZE NON-MICROSOFT PRODUCT). THE TEAM SEIZED ONLY 40 DISKS FROM THE BIGGEST KNOWN COMMERCIAL DEALER.

7. (SBU) MICROSOFT ANNOUNCED ITS SATISFACTION WITH THE RAID AND PLANS TO CONDUCT MORE IN COMING MONTHS. MR. CUONG WANTS FUTURE RAIDS TO FOCUS ON THE REAL PROBLEMS IN VIETNAM: COMPUTER STORES LOADING SOFTWARE DIRECTLY ONTO HARD DRIVES AND MULTIPLE COPIES DISTRIBUTED THROUGH AN ORGANIZATION WITH ONLY ONE LICENSED DISK.

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ0096

PAGE 01 HO CHI 01123 02 OF 02 060451Z ACTION STR-00

INFO LOG-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 ITCE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 EAP-00 EB-00 EXME-00 E-00 UTED-00 VC-00 FRB-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 LAB-01 LOC-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OES-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /010W ------------------040D60 060552Z /38 R 060441Z NOV 02 FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7038 INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI AMEMBASSY BANGKOK AMEMBASSY BEIJING AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 001123

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE PLS PASS TO USTR EBRYAN AND KALVAREZ

THE LAW FIRM, HOWEVER, BELIEVES MMB FEELS IT HAS DONE ENOUGH FOR MICROSOFT THIS YEAR AND WILL BE RELUCTANT TO EMBARK UPON ANOTHER RAID SOON.

8. (SBU) COMMENT: MICROSOFT\'S ENFORCEMENT EFFORT DEMONSTRATES SOME OF THE COMPLEXITY IN TRYING TO DEFEND IPR RIGHTS IN VIETNAM\'S OVERWHELMINGLY COUNTERFEIT SOFTWARE MARKET. POST HAS LEARNED THAT AS MANY AS HALF OF THE SEIZED DISKS WILL BE RETURNED TO THE SHOPS BECAUSE THEY ARE BLANK OR CONTAIN NON-MICROSOFT SOFTWARE. WITHOUT ADEQUATE TRAINING AND CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT LAW, THESE RAIDS CAN ONLY BE HALF-MEASURES. MICROSOFT REPRESENTATIVES EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION THAT OTHER SOFTWARE COMPANIES ARE NOT ACTIVELY ENFORCING THEIR IPR RIGHTS IN VIETNAM. THESE OTHER COMPANIES ARE CONTENT TO LET MICROSOFT CARRY THE WATER -- AND ALSO INCUR THE WRATH OF POTENTIAL RETAIL DISTRIBUTORS. WHILE THE CONFLICT BETWEEN STRONG IPR ENFORCEMENT AND GOOD RETAIL RELATIONS REFLECTS THE ALMOST TOTAL LACK OF PURE, LEGITIMATE DISTRIBUTORS IN VIETNAM, MICROSOFT AND OTHER COMPANIES WILL HAVE TO ADDRESS THESE COMPETING GOALS MORE EFFECTIVELY BEFORE THEY CAN EXPECT STRONG ENFORCEMENT OR SALES. MEANWHILE, IPR ISSUES WILL CONTINUE TO UNDERMINE VIETNAM\'S OWN AMBITIONS TO BECOME AN IT CENTER. YAMAUCHI

UNCLASSIFIED







So taxpayers in Vietnam pay their police/authorities in order to serve as extended Microsoft staff (who are used as a proxy like the BSA). They then attack the Vietnamese population. Why? Because the US says it needs to be done. Those who think outside the box can easily see what's wrong with this picture.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

--Bill Gates



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