The definition of chutzpah used to be the murderer who killed his parents, then appealed to the court for mercy during his trial because he was an orphan.

That definition may have to be updated in light of the lawsuit brought against Microsoft in China

Dong Zhengwei, a Beijing lawyer, is taking a case against the software giant because an update released last August which checks for pirated copies of the Windows XP Pro operating system.

When it finds an illicit copy, the update turns the desktop wallpaper black, and the screen displays a message that the software is pirated.

In his complaint, as reported by several sources, Dong Zhengwei describes Microsoft as ‘the biggest hacker in China with its intrusion into users’ computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority’.

By one estimate, over 80% of Chinese computers are running pirated software.

One Chinese analyst said piracy would not be such a problem if Microsoft dropped its prices to more affordable levels.

And while I have some sympathy for that argument, it’s hard to feel that sorry for someone who has to put up with black wallpaper when there are several free and open software options out there.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.