Monday, December 05, 2005

Of pirates and innovators

In an earlier post, I highlighted some admiration for Bill Gates, but it looks like all the malaria funding and Xboxes isn’t going to help him out much when he lands in India to discover that the country is continuing its march forward with open source.

Interesting comparison with India and China (such comparisons are all the rage now) is that while in China, they copy and distribute versions of Widows, in India, they just invent a way around it. This highlights a difference between India’s more services/innovation economy and China’s more manufacturing/copying economy. Of course, this is a gross shorthand for the actual situation and China is rapidly moving up services/innovation stack.

But it is worth noting that when a company makes major announcement in India, it is around innovation, but when they land in China, the first question they are faced with is if they want to use the Windows or a pirated version of it.

For Gates and co., this is a formidable battle on two fronts, pirates on one side and innovators on the other.

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