Tomato Garden WindowsXP, a very popular cracked version of WindowsXP will disappear from Chinese piracy market, and HONG Lei, author and owner of Tomato Garden (tomatolei.com) was reported being arrested by the police. Two companies which have very close relation with Tomato Garden, Red Apple tech Ltd. and SSN have been affected too. The office of Red Apple has been closed.
How popular is the Tomato Garden WindowsXP in China? According to Sina, 88.4% of 7037 users who participated in its survey say they were/are users of Tomato Garden. A friend who was very close to those two companies used to tell me, +40millions computers in China might have this free WindowsXP installed. But free download does not mean there is no money flew into Tomato Garden. It is actually bundled with some third-party software which may pay millions of RMB in order to get exposed before millions of users.
SSN is a Chengdu-based company which I actually visited twice last year. It is a very special company I would say, and it is also the owner of Wopti Utilities which is a very good Copyrighted software for Windows system optimization and one of must-install software in China.
Microsoft China offical said, Tomato Garden has been in the software piracy for a long time. Include Microsoft, many foreign software company were suffered serious demage. In view of this, Microsoft and other companies have complainted to State Copyright Bureau and public security department for this. On the other hand, read from some comments from Chinese netizen who thought it is good for Chinese copyright industry but also pointed out WindowsXP could not be so popular without the effort of Tomato Garden.