Jintao Hu makes a toast to Windows of opportunity

Sometime ago, the area surrounding Bill Gates' home was placed into a security "zone" by the US' Department of Homeland Security. The event was a private party hosted by Bill Gates for various people of state and other important VIPs. When the government sets up a secure zone, the zone temporarily becomes private property of t he US government -- any trespassing is a no-no and being in the vicinity requires federal clearance.

This time around, security around Gates' mansion will be extremely tight, as more than 130 guests ranging from heads of government and leaders of Fortune 500 companies gather to welcome Jintao Hu, China's President.

Hu's visit to the US alone already marks a history event between the China and the US, but a direct flight to Gates' estate before shaking hands with the US' own George W. Bush is unprecedented to say the least. Hu will of course visit Bush during his tenor but not before sitting down for an elegant three course dinner and toasting off to a bright future between Chinese PC manufacturers and Microsoft. China's government recently introduced a mandate that requires all PC manufacturers include a licensed operating system before letting shipments out the door. This caused various manufacturers to setup contracts with Microsoft to bundle Windows for the next three years. The agreements are estimated to total more than $400 million. Lenovo will join in on the mandate soon.

The intention of the government mandate is to reduce software piracy, for which China is notorious. Software companies have been complaining that piracy robs them of many billions of dollars a year and Microsoft software is the most frequently pirated of any commercial software -- whether done in China or elsewhere.

Along with Hu, other notable guests include Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire and Boeing Chairman and CEO W. James McNerney, Jr.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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